Editorial: Leverage accolades now

We know that workforce and attracting workers to the region is one of the main priorities for the Quad Cities.

We also know that communities and economic development organizations around the country are focused on similar workforce, worker retention and attraction efforts.

So how does the Quad Cities differentiate itself from these other communities and economic development organizations focused on the same challenging goal of getting more residents so there are more employees to drive economic development?

The first step has become readily apparent: leverage the recent accolades the region has received into a concerted social and traditional media marketing campaign.

Davenport was recently recognized as being the Best Small City for Remote Workers, according to researchers at the free virtual work experience platform Forage. 

In July, Davenport was named the No. 1 best place for millennial homebuyers among the Midwest’s largest cities in a list compiled by The Ascent, an affiliate of The Motley Fool, which rates financial goods and services.

“What many Quad Citizens sometimes forget is how remarkable our region truly is,” said Davenport City Administrator Corri Spiegel in a QCBJ news report about the remote worker ranking. “This recognition highlights the concerted efforts that the City of Davenport has made with regard to investing in our future. Amenities include an amazing park system, a vibrant small business community, a vast array of cultural amenities, and fiber-to-the-premise service that connects us everywhere, all while offering an attainable cost of living to all generations.”

“The recent recognition that Davenport and the Quad Cities has received concerning remote work is a leverageable opportunity for the region,” said Dave Herrell, president and CEO of Visit Quad Cities. “The regional branding initiative between Visit Quad Cities and the QC Chamber is the right vehicle to showcase these accolades and deploy messaging to connect with a targeted audience.”

We don’t disagree with Mr. Herrell, but would like to see a more concerted marketing campaign on the specific demographics of millennials and remote workers.

It is also going to take more than just good press.

To really take advantage of these awards the region needs to put some real financial incentives in place to further motivate workers in these coveted demographics to move to the Quad Cities.

One shining example is Tulsa Remote.

Tulsa, Oklahoma, has become a media darling and even the focus of a Harvard Business School case study due to its Tulsa Remote program, which offers a $10,000 grant and additional benefits to eligible remote workers who move to and work from Tulsa.

According to news reports, the Tulsa metro area — with more than 783,000 residents — brought in more than 1,300 remote workers from 2018-2021 through its innovative program.

We don’t know how long remote work and these recent accolades will remain viable so let’s jump on this opportunity now to drive economic development into the future. 

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