• Shane Shown

Small Towns Matter Too

Why Small Towns Matter

I grew up in Clarkston, WA (Population size, 7,341). As I grew up, there were very few job opportunities in the Valley. Our most popular employers were University of Idaho, Nez Perce Tribe, Walmart, Schweitzer Engineer Laboratories, Clearwater Paper, and Regence BlueShield of Idaho. Most of which, were located in Lewiston, ID or surrounding towns. As a child, becoming the Manager of Walmart was a huge accomplishment. The public perception of opportunity was small unless you had the dreams of moving to the “Big City,” which happened to be Seattle for me. A number that blows my mind, the average income per capita in Lewiston is $24,443, while the average household income is $45,148. This is nearly below minimum age in Seattle.

Now, why am I bringing this up?

I am making it a goal to bring new jobs to small towns like Clarkston, WA. I am currently discussing the opportunity to open an office space near somewhere like the Lewis-Clark Valley to provide jobs that could more than double the earning potential in this small town. Luckily, this area is rich with Education. There are 3 Universities (Washington State University, University of Idaho, Lewis-Clark State College) within 20 minutes of each other. I am going to start conducting interviews and hire a set of University Students that are studying Computer Science, Engineer, or Statistics. The Sounders have a Youth Academy Team, so should we. We want to start supporting job opportunities in Small Towns while allowing them to have the opportunity to earn a position in the “Big City” where we are headquartered.

There are several roles that are remote friendly, why not take advantage?

I find people all the time that want to support “local” businesses to help the community. To be honest, I love Seattle and want to grow in the Emerald City, but there are smaller towns less fortunate than Seattle. Not only that, but talent is being underutilized in small towns because there is a lack of opportunity. I can’t blame someone if they don’t want to deal with a daily commute of 40-120 minutes a day. I don’t blame someone if they want to live on a property that can fit more than 1 car in the drive way, or a yard instead of a patch of grass. I can’t blame them if they want a lower crime rate.

Use technology to advance your teams and grow them! There are multiple difference conference lines like Uberconference that are fantastic for remote interaction! #Slack is doing a great job to create open lines of communication! CRMs and ATS systems are drastically improving to allow real-time data sharing and providing analytics that don’t lie! There are Machine Learning tools that will help you build your personal network and brand to reach brand new territories you’ve never personally lived in. Skype and FaceTime allow you to have a more personal conversation.

Want to support growth in Small Towns?

Help me decide what town would make the most sense! I’m looking for a town near a University or College that focuses on #ComputerScience, #Engineering, #DataScience, or #Statistics. I’d love to find a town that has lower income with a smart and passionate community. Why can’t small towns have great and unique opportunities, while being able to have a community that isn’t going to nickel and dime them on living costs!

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