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City of Oswego partners with employers to recruit residents

As the city of Oswego continues to revitalize itself, four local employers are partnering with the city government to help attract more residents to the area. Oswego Health, SUNY Oswego, Novelis and Exelon will all be giving new employees a pamphlet with information on what the city has to offer.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said if the effort—fittingly titled the “resident recruitment initiative”—is successful, it won’t just help the city grow—it will help the employers, too.

“After I won the election in November of 2015, I met with the CEOs and the HR departments of the major employers around the city of Oswego,” Barlow said. “And all major employers had a consistent complaint, and it was they were all frustrated that their employees did not live nearby. They lived in Onondaga County and would commute in, or lived in a rural town in Oswego County and would commute in.”

Exelon spokesperson Jill Lyon said informing potential new employees about what the city has to offer will help secure new recruits.

“As we’re recruiting and, seeking to bring folks into the area, having more information about the area, about the options, is just something that is going to only help us in our recruiting efforts,” said Lyon.

The coinciding of the initiative with a number of other city-improvement projects is no accident. Projects like the downtown revitalization initiative aren’t just about beautification—they’re also meant to strengthen the local community.

Kristi Eck, chief of staff for SUNY Oswego president Deborah Stanley, said people are more likely to settle locally if they know there’s a thriving local community. She knows—it’s what attracted her to the city.

“I’ll be very transparent and say I wasn’t really enjoying my time in Oswego because I wasn’t connecting to the community as well as I have now,” Eck said. “And so I moved back to Syracuse for a short bit. And then I watched Oswego really reach out to me and also really revitalize itself, and I was honestly really persuaded and enticed to move back to Oswego a second time. And my wife and I have just bought a house in the heart of Oswego, and we’re thrilled to be here. We’re really loving it, simply.”

Barlow said it will be difficult to gage the initiative’s impact, but he isn’t too concerned—he sees it as just the beginning of a larger effort.

“I view it as really just the first step,” Barlow said. “We need to do a better job just telling our story and positioning Oswego and conveying to these employees that Oswego is a viable place to consider living. Right now, or at least two years ago, we weren’t even on the map. Somebody new to the area, they would drive through the neighborhoods and immediately go buy a home somewhere else because our neighborhoods weren’t where they should be. Now that’s not the case.”

In addition to being distributed by employers, the pamphlets will also be given to local realtors. They are also available for pickup at the mayor’s office.