The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
Our association recently put the finishing touches on a poll of new Yakima Valley residents. We had over 100 recent transplants participate in a survey we developed in partnership with the Yakima Valley Human Resource Association. Our office gathered input from new residents between May and October of this year and the results illuminate how these people are faring in our communities. Most of the survey participants are relocating professionals. Almost half of them have a master's degree or higher. The group taking our survey is also young. Over sixty percent of our participants were between the ages of 22-44. We are pleased with our participant profile because this is an extremely important community demographic.We desperately need to attract and retain well educated younger adults.
Sixty five percent of survey participants are married and approximately 40 percent of these couples have children. Newcomers moved from a variety of locales, with the highest number coming from the Pacific Northwest. It was also interesting to find that a significant number of transplants came from the Midwest.
People surveyed typically moved to Yakima to pursue careers. Beyond job opportunities our new residents cited that spousal employment, being closer to family, and the area's quality of life were reasons behind relocation. When asked to rank specific relocation factors in terms of importance, survey participants said that career opportunities, outdoor recreation, and housing options were particularly important.
We also asked new residents to identify what they like most about the Yakima Valley. Our weather, outdoor recreation options, proximity to NW cities, and our hospitality all received high marks. On the other hand we also asked these recent transplants to rank our Valley's issues or challenges. As you can see from the chart below crime, educational attainment and the region's economic status were areas of concern.
We appreciate the input from our newest residents and plan to share their insights with local human resource managers, recruiters, and other stakeholders whose companies' fortunes are closely tied to how well they bring talented new people into our Valley.