Dayton Talent Acquisition Director Talks Importance of Workforce Partnerships
Elizabeth Kyle, Editorial Intern,
Dayton Business Journal
Lucious Plant is the director of talent acquisition for the Dayton Development Coalition, an economic development agency in Dayton. He also serves as a corporate retention specialist and revitalization project manager for the organization. Through his 25-year career, Plant has assisted new and native businesses in maintaining their workforce and expanding to larger audiences.
Describe your role at the Dayton Development Coalition.
I’m the talent acquisition director for the Dayton region and I also serve as a liaison to JobOhio for talent services. I work to make sure our region continues to win economic development projects and that talent recruitment doesn’t become a problem. I make sure we maintain connections with our existing businesses and work with them to retain and gain talent. A role like this is a must have for competing states.
Take us through the process of recruiting a new business into the Dayton area.
It can go several ways. Some businesses hire professional firms to look into a specific area for relocation. They usually look at factors like location, talent rates, utilities available, tax costs and often make site visits to locations they’re interested in. Then, once the business chooses a location, the region’s partners work to help it relocate.
Another way is a business directly reaches out to our region or it contacts JobsOhio with interest in the general state of Ohio. Once engagement happens with the business and the Dayton region, we present the best location sites in the area, connect it with local partners and community organizations and utility companies who will help bring the relocation to life. Now, we add in talent acquisition. If recruiting talent is important to them, we look at putting together a comprehensive plan that will cover everything from marketing, general attraction of talent and training programs. The cost of our package would not be paid for by the company, it’s more of an incentive to help businesses get established in the area.
How do you match incoming businesses with local talent?
There are multiple entry points for local talent. We have an existing community match system that works for our businesses at the OhioMeansJobs centers. We have about 90 of those in the state of Ohio and they continuously match people with jobs in our area.
The DDC also works with 36 partners that are part of our local talent and workforce community. The way our program works is we customize a recruiting program specific to the employer. I am the person who understands the region on behalf of the incoming companies, most who are new to the area, so I need to show them where the workforce assets are. I introduce them to all local organizations, like OMJ centers, community colleges, career techs, high schools and public organizations.
What are some recruitment challenges local businesses are facing?
I think companies are challenged today in a different way than they were before. Companies tell us they’re not seeing enough people through their recruiting strategies or they need to find people with a more advanced skill set. They also have to consider a digital strategy to maintain outreach and they tell us it’s more challenging to find qualified candidates. Current workers are either moving to a different sector or are approaching retirement. Companies now have to compete to recruit younger talent to maintain their workforce, which can be challenging.
What are some successful tactics for attracting and retaining a quality workforce that other businesses could apply?
Businesses are competing in an interesting pool to recruit talent, and I think those who do it well take advantage of their resources and prioritize their workforce partnerships. Businesses should talk to their workers about the importance of getting new candidates and making them a partner in the process through an employee referral program. When people look for jobs they need to see a purpose, so it’s important to understand your business as a whole and highlight your strengths while recruiting.
Why should businesses consider relocating or becoming established in the Dayton area?
There are so many things that make our region great, including we’re not too large of an area, which makes it easy for our workforce organizations to be aware of each other. The cost of living is reasonable, we have public transportation in our urban cities, new jobs are being created that were never here before. Are there challenges? Yes, some of them have been around for a while. But, I do think we’ve got a lot of great opportunities here for people to grow.
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