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Jobs committee makes progress on promotions, looks ahead to ‘phase two’

It’s a message that has been heard all around Perham for months: we have jobs.

In July, representatives from the city, chamber of commerce and major employers met to brainstorm on how to attract workers to Perham to fill more of the open jobs. This was the birth of the Perham Jobs Committee.

Seven months later, the committee is still hard at work defining the community’s challenges and implementing ideas intended to attract applicants.

Fred Sailer, a recruiter at KLN Family Brands, serves on the jobs committee. He recently gave the Focus an overview of the group’s plans.

A core of local business owners and company representatives have committed to the job promotion campaign, he said, from Arvig, Kit Masters, KLN, Perham Health, United Community Bank, Dean’s Country Market, Hammers Construction, Bremer Bank and others, along with city employees such as Building Official Dave Neisen.

The committee has a budget of $5,200 for its first round of promotions, which have already started within a 60-mile radius of town.

Promotion efforts have included or will include:

-Two billboards advertising jobs and local events. One will be near Perham, on Highway 10, the other by Wal-Mart in Detroit Lakes. They are expected to go up soon and will stay up until early summer.

-A radio ad campaign featuring job openings in Perham, which ran on KJ Country, Z103 and KBRF AM through February. Lakes Radio also ran ads.

-Print ads in “High School Sports Quarterly” in March, April and May. More than 12,000 copies of this free magazine are distributed throughout west-central Minnesota.

-A new website that is being made through the Economic Development Administration. It will feature lists of job openings and available housing, along with featured videos produced at local businesses. The videos will cover topics such as doing business in Perham, the downtown atmosphere, and professional and family life. The committee does not yet have a launch date for the site.

After these steps have been taken, Sailer said the committee will survey the chamber of commerce and other businesses in the community to find out what sort of impact, if any, has been made.

“We’re going to say, ‘This is what we’ve done. … Did you like it? Is it making a difference?’”

Then, they’ll look for more business representatives who might be interested in joining in for the next step.

“Phase two will have more of a summer theme to it,” said Sailer. “We think we’re going to see a whole new group of people moving through our area who might be enticed to look at work here.”

“Nobody is bankrolling this,” said Sailer of the need for the community to continue supporting this committee. “There’s not a government agency behind it… This is just a local effort to bring people into our community.”