TERRACE - A group of northwest B.C. communities was awarded the Economic Development Marketing Innovation Award as part of the Northwest B.C. Workforce and Resident Attraction Initiative (WARA). The WARA team included the City of Terrace, District of Kitimat, City of Prince Rupert, Village of Hazelton, District of New Hazelton, and Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine.

The partners came together to address concerns for talent attraction supports, as shown through research and a labor market study conducted by the Kitimat Valley Institute.

The City of Terrace worked alongside development officers to compare notes and surveys which all pointed to staffing being an issue in the Terrace area.

"We interviewed over 60 key informants, employers, recruiters and HR staff around northwest B.C.," says Deklan Corstanje, the Economic Development Manager for Terrace. "These groups pointed out their needs as recruiters. They also expressed to us how we could raise the profile of northwest B.C. and find any misconceptions of the region."

Guided by key employer surveys and a research-based marketing plan, the WARA project started with primary market research to understand the demographics most likely to move to northwest BC, their motivations, and the misconceptions they had of the region.

From there, the team developed assets employers needed most for their recruitment efforts, like the Live Northwest BC website, community profiles, maps, videos and images, and brochures.

To give the region an added boost to its awareness, the team successfully ran the "What’s Holding You Back Campaign" on digital and social platforms, teaching people from around the nation about the region and its opportunities.

"We got millions of hits and since then, we've seen lots of people reaching out," says Corstanje. "This campaign has helped employers with recruitment materials. To see the feedback and the results to be so strong, it's encouraging to keep it going."

The Mayor of Kitimat says it was an example of communities working together to address a crucial need.

"We all have our own unique assets and advantages so we figured trying to promote the whole region as one was a great way to do things," explains Mayor Phil Germuth.

Since its launch, the project has supported major employers like the Coast Mountain School District, MNP, Coastal GasLink, and LNG Canada in their recruitment efforts.