WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - After over a year developing a community strategic plan, the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce is now implementing it in hopes of growing the city's talent pool.
Consultant Market Street Services was hired to help develop the strategy and identified seven areas to focus on.
"At some point, if we don't do something to address these issues, the city will begin to shrink," C.E.O. of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce, Henry Florsheim said.
The areas include improving the city's talent partnerships, aging schools, an economic development program, a thriving Sheppard Air Force Base, an entrepreneurial maker hub, a revitalized downtown, and a bicycle-friendly community.
Now the Chamber is developing action teams for each of those areas to make them happen.
"Doing all those things together can help us enlarge the talent pool from within and attract more workers from out of town," Florsheim said. "And the more workforce we've got, the more we can attract and the better it is for companies to move here."
The Chamber said this community plan is aimed at growing Wichita Falls and making it a great place to live and work.
"We've been working on this plan for a year," Florsheim said. "And now it's finally in place and it's time to start making some things happen."
That plan is now being implemented to attract people like Bryant Vergara to Wichita Falls, a recent graduate of the University of Michigan.
"Wichita Falls really just kind of blew all my expectations out of the water," Vergara, who now works at Dexter Learning said.
"Bryant is a great story because he could have gone anywhere," Florsheim said. "The other guys Michael and Sean and the other guys and Dexter could have gone anywhere. But they chose Wichita Falls."
Vergara said there are two things millennials look for when trying to find a city to live in.
"One, an affordable place to live and two, a place that they can feel like they can make an impact," Vergara said.
He thinks Wichita Falls can be that place.
"I'm definitely going to try to recruit people from the University of Michigan to come here and sell them on this town," Vergara said.
But he said there are things Wichita Falls can continue to do to attract millennials and grow the talent pool like being more adventurous and open-minded, as well as the community supporting this strategic plan.
"People need to buy-in," Vergara said. "That's really what it comes down to."
"This is all aimed at making Wichita Falls a better place," Florsheim said.
Florsheim said six of seven bond proposals failing will not affect this strategic plan, adding they began working on it long before the bond propositions were even discussed.
He said they would have been a nice kickstart, but the plan is still attainable.
Florsheim stresses that none of these projects are going to raise any taxes, but added there is a way you can help.
He said they are looking to fill all their action teams for each of the areas they are addressing.
If interested, he urges you to reach out to the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce at (940)-723-2741.