New Braunfels (TX) – New Braunfels Talent Project
ChallengeNew Braunfels lies in the heart of one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. As the region grows, the community faces an increasingly complex challenge: How does New Braunfels attract the employment opportunities and talent it needs for sustained economic vitality while retaining the small-town characteristics that area residents and workers value? This challenge is compounded by national demographic trends that suggest demand for workers will soon outstrip supply. Although the recession may cause some workers to postpone retirement, the exodus of the large Baby Boom generation from the workforce and the inability of the smaller Generations X and Y to replenish the talent pool is cause for concern. Focusing on developing, attracting, and retaining talent should, therefore, be an important part of any community’s economic development strategy. This holds particularly true for New Braunfels, where the population and workforce are older than average. The Talent Project examines how different segments of the population relate to living and working in New Braunfels, and what attracts – or doesn’t attract – them to the community.
ApproachWith input from area employers, as well as business and community leaders, TIP developed a web-based survey to gauge what citizens consider important regarding where they work and live. Because the Talent Project originated in part from community leaders’ interest in understanding how various generations relate to work and community, TIP analyzed survey responses by generation. This research shed light on attitudes of area residents and workers on subjects ranging from recreation and entertainment to transportation and employer-provided benefits. To further understand talent trends in New Braunfels, TIP conducted a targeted analysis of demographic and economic factors, profiled community assets, and analyzed labor market trends for Comal and Guadalupe counties.
OutcomeTIP identified several opportunities for New Braunfels to develop a long-term strategy to attract and retain talent. These strategies include increasing access to higher education; leveraging the area’s robust tourism marketing for talent attraction; engaging young professionals in the community; reconnecting with former residents; and harnessing the community’s dedication to volunteering. While TIP’s research did not reveal a vast generation gap in New Braunfels, it did provide insight into what matters to workers and residents as New Braunfels continues to grow. Armed with this knowledge, area leaders can make more informed decisions about education and training, city planning, economic development, and talent management. Ultimately, this will better position New Braunfels to keep current talent and attract future talent that area employers need to help the community remain competitive and vibrant.
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