Monday, April 28, 2008

Best Companies to Work For

I was in Redding, CA (population 80,865) for their second annual Best Places to Work Awards Breakfast put on by the SMART Business Resource Center, the job training/placement organization in Shasta County. This award has obviously awakened a great deal of interest in the community as they had 537 nominations for 65 companies with many companies having multiple employees submitting applications. Based upon the turnout of almost 500 people, you could tell that this Best Companies to Work For is a great idea and one that I hope other towns will copy.

From a TV program, I learned that Redding is the second sunniest city in the USA with 88% of the days having sunshine. I wish that I knew which was the sunniest.

Anna Bengtsson, head of SMART and my tour guide, showed me some very interesting sites. The most outstanding was the Sundial Bridge which was built by the McConnell Foundation, a community foundation set up by a ranching couple. The walking bridge spans the Sacramento River and ties the many activities (museum, arboretum, etc.) of the Turtle Bay Exploration Center together along with tying into the many trails along the river.

The McConnell Foundation was set up by Carl and Leah McConnell who had a great love for their hometown. The Foundation has grown to over $400 million in assets and has another wonderful park (Lema Ranch) that they have open to the public. The McConnell Foundation is an example of what can happen when permanent funds are set up for community betterment.

A place that was hopping with activity was the Big League Dreams Sport Park which featured replica fields of Fenway with a 30’ Green Monster wall; Yankee Stadium with the white arches; and Wrigley Field with its ivy covered brick wall.

When I asked Anna about the impact of the downturn in the economy in CA, she told me, “We’ve got about 1,000 job seekers which is about twice what it was at the peak and have 300 to 500 companies that are constantly looking for workers. We recently had a job fair with 21 companies and had 736 people who went through in a four hour period.”


Anonymous said...

Thank you Jack for sharing your visit to our wonderful city with viewers.
Your presentation was the best and enjoyed by all.
Please continue to keep the spirit of the small communities alive.
Thanks again. Ginne Mistal, Board, SMART Business Resource Center

BoomtownUSA said...

Ginne: I had a wonderful time in Redding and hope to return. You've got a wonderful community!

I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to be able to travel the country and share my message of small towns. I'm learning a great deal and hopefully inspiring several to step forward and make a difference in their hometowns.