#ProsperInPerthCounty Youth Profile Series

Single Publication – 4 or more pages | Perth County

This year the Economic Development and Tourism Division made it a priority to show local youth that they can #ProsperInPerthCounty. The #ProsperInPerthCounty Youth Profile series is a unique way in which we have effectively accomplished this – through showcasing actual successful youth that are currently prospering in Perth County! This initiative creatively illustrates the diverse career opportunities that exist in Perth County. Reading success stories of numerous local youth thriving in Perth County inspires and motivates other youth who will be soon entering the workforce to consider staying in or returning to the area.

Youth outmigration is a significant challenge for smaller communities across Ontario, and in Perth County, we have a higher net loss of youth leaving the area than our neighbours in Huron and Wellington counties. The #ProsperInPerthCounty campaign is a response to what was learned in the research stage of the ‘Perth4Youth’ project, a joint strategic planning initiative involving Perth County’s member municipalities, the City of Stratford and the Town of St. Mary’s. In addition, this reflects 2014 labour market research complete in Perth County.

The research conveyed that youth like living here, but many surveyed felt that there is an underlying message that they need to leave the area to be successful. It was also consistently found that there is a frustration with youth not knowing what job and career opportunities are available to them. The stories of the youth that were profiled accurately portray the benefits of building a life here, and the opportunities this region can offer young adults. Some people may have to leave to pursue post-secondary and postgraduate education, but we want them to know that there are very bright futures waiting for them in Perth County when they graduate. There are also a wide variety of entry-level jobs available to youth as soon as they graduate high school. We want to stress that Perth County has available opportunities for people of all education levels.

The project produced 17 Youth Profiles (See Appendix) at a budget of approximately $250 per profile. This includes travel, photography, and design. All 17 Youth Profiles can be found on Perth County’s website – perthcounty.ca, and on our Facebook page – @PerthCounty. Though distribution has a digital focus, we have also printed specific profiles on foam boards and flyers for job fairs and conferences. Several businesses that had employees featured in the #ProsperInPerthCounty initiative have also opted to print and promote their respective profiles to popularize their own opportunities and services.

There’s a desire in a large percentage of youth to stay in or move to a smaller community, but there’s a wide-spread perception that large cities are the only locations where ‘good jobs’ are available. “Not everyone connects small populations with large opportunities, but they should,” says 26-year-old Becca Newbigging. Newbigging, born and raised in Listowel, returned to her home turf to pursue a career in accounting after completing her post-secondary education. She is one of the many youth being profiled for the #ProsperInPerthCounty initiative for youth retention and attraction. The #ProsperInPerthCounty initiative is delivering the clear message that there are amazing and unique career opportunities in rural/small town Ontario. The #ProsperInPerthCounty project received significant media coverage from news outlets such as Blackburn News, Ontario Farmer, Stratford Beacon Herald, CBC Afternoon Drive, and the Mitchell Advocate. Online analytics revealed that the Youth Profiles quickly saw high online reach and engagement – some posts receiving over 6,000 views. The youth featured themselves also shared via their own social media accounts, spreading the word amongst their own networks.

The #ProsperInPerthCounty Youth Profile series makes it clear to youth everywhere that our lively county offers an abundance of exciting careers. This initiative has been incredibly successful – the Youth Profile series represents the workforce and possible job opportunities in Perth County effectively and resonated well with our target audience. #PropserInPerthCounty has been an invaluable project that surpassed all expectations and truly made a positive difference for youth retention and attraction in Perth County.

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