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By Ben Winchester and Chet Bodin
University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality 

Resident Recruitment Efforts: Greater Minnesota Communities on the Cutting Edge


September 30, 2021

Did you know that Minnesota communities are recognized around the country for their resident recruitment efforts? It’s true!

Minnesota is a leader in rural resident recruitment thanks in part to the University of Minnesota Extension’s pioneering rural movers research, which is focused on finding out why people move to rural areas. Extension has worked for over a decade to disseminate those findings to rural communities throughout Minnesota and across the country. Those communities used the findings to expand and coordinate their local and regional economic development efforts with community development and tourism – resulting in today’s comprehensive resident recruitment initiatives. Since Extension first shared this information a decade ago, many such resident recruitment initiatives have sprung up organically across the state. No other state has a network of resident recruitment initiatives like those in Minnesota.

Resident recruitment efforts have received special attention over the past several years due in large part to a tightening labor market across the country and here in Minnesota. As baby boomers move into retirement, there are fewer younger workers to replace them. This can be a particular challenge in rural communities, which tend to see more of their youngest working age residents move away for education or other opportunities. That’s only part of the story, though. There’s also a trend toward a “brain gain” or movement of people in their prime working years to rural communities not just for jobs, but for lifestyle reasons – like living in a place that’s great for raising children, being closer to family or facing less traffic and congestion. Resident recruitment efforts focus on that whole story of why working – and living – in a community is the right choice for a person. After all, it’s not just about jobs!

See examples of successful resident recruitment efforts in Minnesota, learn about the University of Minnesota Extension’s research and more in the article Greater Minnesota's Resident Recruitment Advantage in the September 2021 edition of Minnesota Economic Trends. 


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