People mill around the sunny Cedar House conference room, chatting about the future of Truckee’s small businesses and filling out name tags, or piling a cute little plate with cute little snacks, or enjoying a glass of wine. They are the local business owners and investors providing feedback and ideas on the progress of the Truckee Chamber of Commerce’s newest phase of the Truckee Tomorrow initiative. It’s June 13 and this is the seventh investor meeting to reveal major progress toward launching the Truckee Jobs Collective website and continuing in-person meetups between employees and employers and employer-to-employer roundtables.
Part of that initiative is Business Speaks, a series of meetups and surveys for employers and employees, which has brought together 624 employers and employees so far. A survey asking 108 local businesses about their biggest challenges showed that 55% of the businesses had issues surrounding recruitment and retention.
“The employer survey showed a willingness to collaborate” between businesses that would normally be in competition with each other to solve this issue, chamber brand communication manager Collen Dalton said at the meeting.
The employee surveys revealed that 42.9% of Truckee job seekers want to work 15 to 20 hours a week and 57.1% want to work 20 or more hours per week. So why are local businesses struggling to find and keep staff? The answer, says Dalton, will be finding innovative ways to bring job-seekers and employers together to foster conversations about the needs of each. This led to the development of the in-person and online prongs of the Jobs Collective strategy to improve access and communication among businesspeople and between employees and employers.
Organizers did a comprehensive study of existing job promotion and searching websites like Indeed and Craigslist, and they worked to make this site, set to be made public in July, a unique experience, with respect to the mountain-town friendly flavor of business that marks Truckee at its best. For example, the site has sections like Mountain Life and People with Passion and provides resources for housing, schools, and transportation as well as employer and employee profiles. Dalton described the Chamber’s desire for the website to show the diversity of this area and display “imagery to reflect the Truckee brand.”