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City of Peoria Press Release

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Peoria Urges Employers to Assist in Survey

Research Firm to Poll 2,000 West Valley Businesses on Work-Force Issues


PEORIA, Ariz. (Aug. 27, 2008) – The City of Peoria is working with the Western Maricopa Coalition (WESTMARC) to survey more than 2,000 West Valley employers about work-force demands and barriers that might prevent a company’s growth.

ERISS Corp., a research firm hired by WESTMARC, is contacting companies with 20 or more employees for the West Valley Workforce and Labor Market Survey. The phone interviews take only seven to 10 minutes, but the results will yield an invaluable tool for businesses and communities interested in recruiting, developing and retaining strong economic partners in the West Valley.

“The WESTMARC study will be used as a tool to identify specific labor forces not only within the West Valley, but particularly in the City of Peoria,” says Steve Prokopek, the city’s economic-development director. “This will enhance our capability to attract certain types of businesses that we are attempting to bring into our city”

Amid concerns of a contracting economy elsewhere in the nation, the West Valley is attracting the attention of companies looking to expand, relocate or open in an area with a vibrant, available work force and a receptive business climate. Labor cost, availability and quality are the most-cited decision factors for companies seeking to expand or relocate, yet up-to-date information has not been readily available.

To meet this growing demand, WESTMARC is partnering with West Valley cities, economic-development officials, educators and employers in a $150,000 effort to compile the data.

“The results from this survey will provide tremendous benefit to our West Valley communities,” says Jack Lunsford, president & chief executive officer of WESTMARC. “We haven’t had an up-to-date resource like this in our economic-development tool kit for many years.”

WESTMARC will provide the survey results to employers and the public online in late fall, and will offer a wide variety of information in an interactive, Web-based format. Scenario analyses detailing specifics of the West Valley labor market will be included, such as how far and in what direction employees travel for their jobs, the length of time they spend commuting and mode/method of transportation they use. There also will be information regarding employee skills, specialization, professional/certification qualifications and wages/salaries. A symposium will be held Nov. 6 to discuss the results.

The success and reliability of the survey depends upon the response from West Valley employers, who can prepare in advance by visiting www.usworks.com/WESTMARC/questions.cfm and reviewing the survey questions before an ERISS representative calls.

Only aggregate information without employer identification will be used in this survey, and employer responses will kept confidential. Survey results will be published in a manner that protects the identity of employer.

Employers can wait to be contacted by ERISS, but those wishing to be proactive may set up telephone appointments in advance or request the survey by fax. To do so, call the toll-free 866-491-3747, ext. 212, or visit www.usworks.com\WESTMARC and click “Contact Us/Appointment.” A strong work force is pivotal for communities that are courting, keeping and growing local business opportunities. Don’t miss this opportunity to help build a strong West Valley and a vibrant economy.

For more information, employers may contact ERISS’ George Martinez (george.martinez@eriss.com, 866-491-3747, Ext. 212) or WESTMARC’s Darah Mann (darah@westmarc.org, 623-435-0431 Ext. 203).