What’s it like to live in Manhattan, Kansas? There’s a lot to love about this small town with big-city amenities. Not to be confused with its larger namesake in New York, Manhattan, Kansas, has been recognized as a top college town, top place to retire young, top small town for business and careers and top-100 place to live in America. Business community leaders are getting the word out.
To help new and prospective employees discover the attributes that make the region so appealing, the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce launched an initiative called Made for Manhattan. While anyone can access Manhattan’s selling points through the initiative’s components, it’s especially useful for companies to leverage as they recruit talent to meet their workforce needs in the region.
“Made for Manhattan is an online resource and toolkit for new residents, job seekers and human resources professionals,” said Amber Wilhelm, talent strategies coordinator for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. “The overarching goal is to showcase the amenities we have here.”
Made for Manhattan introduces newcomers and potential residents to the diverse faces and places that make the region so vibrant.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to succeed in Manhattan and there aren’t a lot of places like it,” Wilhelm said. “It’s not just that there are great jobs. It’s a great place to live, work and raise a family. Truly, I think there are few places like it.”
The main component of the effort is a website with information about housing, neighborhoods, schools, amenities, attractions and resident success stories. Information ranges from diverse attractions like Tuttle Creek, the Flint Hills Discovery Center and Kansas State University’s Bill Snyder Family Stadium to profiles of residents like a veteran-turned-artist and a young professional in the early stages of her career. A relocation guide, welcome box and postcards featuring key information and stories are also available.
“The materials serve multiple purposes,” Wilhelm said. “Human resources professionals have used the boxes as a welcome or onboarding tool for new employees. Individuals considering job opportunities might receive the postcards highlighting some amazing attractions. We’re also using the materials at career fairs for students, veterans and others to showcase the quality of life here.”
Katie Stone, general manager at local eatery Bourbon and Baker, used the toolkit for her recruiting efforts.
“After recruiting a new leader for our business from New York, I knew this would be a big move for her, especially for her first time moving away from the East coast,” Stone said. “I was looking to put together a resource to make the transition easier for her, including activities, maps, and other essential information when moving to a new city, let alone across the country! The Made for Manhattan resource came to mind. I was able to direct her to the website and it’s become a valuable source for information that she still uses as she continues to learn more about her new home.”
From key statistics and city rankings to in-depth stories, Made for Manhattan offers overview information as well as ways for people to drill down into areas of interest. Human resources professionals can use a filter feature in the New to Manhattan section to provide targeted information based on new or potential employees’ questions and concerns.
“If you’re weighing your options, you might access this information and think, ‘I didn’t realize they had all this, that the quality of life is so good,’” Wilhelm said. “It really highlights the diversity here and can help job seekers envision themselves in Manhattan.”
While job hunting during her senior year at Fort Hays State University, Allison Muth also found the materials invaluable.
“I attended a virtual career fair through the Handshake platform. I was able to connect with Amber Wilhelm for a 30-minute session to learn more about the Manhattan, Kansas, community, the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce and employers within the area,” Muth said. “In May 2021, I started as a business development specialist at CivicPlus and connected with the community by becoming involved in HYPE and the Flint Hills Masterworks Chorale. Six months later, I am now well acquainted with organizations and leaders in the area. I am thankful for that first interaction with Amber and her kindness while I was making important life decisions.”
If you’re interested in learning more, visit the website or contact Wilhelm to receive a welcome box, postcards or more information.