Authors, welders, pharmacists, veterinarians, mechanics, physical therapists. These are just a few professions 2017 Ord and Arcadia graduates aspire to achieve following their high school graduation.
Every year we ask high school seniors, “What are your plans after high school?” “Do you see yourself returning to a rural community in the future?” “Do you desire to own your own business at some point in the future?” Each year we are equally enthused with their responses.
70% of 2017 graduates replied “yes” or “maybe” when asked if they have a desire to return to Valley County or a rural community in the future. Students recognize the friendly, supportive, “small town” environment as something they want to be a part of as they embark on a career of their own. Additionally, 59% of soon-to-be graduates have an interest in owning their own business one day.
While we love learning about students’ aspirations, we also have an intentional message to share with them…the opportunities in Valley County are limitless. Whether they wish to feed the world, educate our youth or launch a global business, resources and opportunities exist in Valley County.
The Ord Area Chamber of Commerce, Valley County Economic Development and Valley County Community Foundation Fund have engaged with high school seniors since 2012 during I Love Valley County visits. During the visits, each senior receives a flash drive loaded with videos and resources about their hometown community. Throughout all visits since 2012, 54% of students mentioned their desire to return to the area which equates to additional workforce for local businesses, entrepreneurs to fill product and service gaps and contributing members to our local community.
Business owners, parents, community leaders – we all live and work in Valley County for a reason. Maybe it is the honor and heritage associated with your family or the pace and amenities of a rural lifestyle. Whatever the case may be, we all have the responsibility to communicate a positive perspective of our community and share the abundant opportunities that exist in Valley County for our youth.