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The internet allows us to build our own identities. We are not beholden to the standards of a group, our surroundings or our physical limitations. Our workforce identity in Southern Illinois has the capacity to draw new investment because, unlike established metropolitan and industrial regions, our region is a blank canvas ready to be painted with modern industry.

In an effort to attract artists of modern industry to Southern Illinois, our workforce and employers need to put our economic viability on display.

Social media platforms are proper spaces for employers to show how their traditional activity intersects with evolving global industries that are centered on technology, media and logistics. For example, a business that focuses on delivering home health care services has a customer-facing identity as a healthcare provider. They may draw interest to Southern Illinois’ economy and workforce by engaging in business-to-business communications via Twitter with larger entities whose operations focus on creating logistical efficiencies.

The willingness of companies in rural areas to scale upward with their communications has the potential to draw interest from larger solution providers who will see Southern Illinois as a place to develop a system and a workforce to support that system.

Workforce participants can use social media to put their accomplishments on display and showcase how individual talents of our Southern Illinois workforce make our region prime for investment.

LinkedIn has become an increasingly powerful platform for social media users. It’s more than a platform to input your resume. LinkedIn is a platform where you can display your credentials and then support your credentials with content that puts your abilities on display.

Say you’re an in-demand tradesperson who is a much-needed component of our modern workforce, like a welder. You may use LinkedIn to list your certifications and employment history, but you should be using the platform to display how you weld and the finished products which you make.

As a region, when enough participants in our workforce put their skills on display, we develop an identity as a media-literate region. We provide additional value to developing industry by making our individual stories part of larger industry stories.

Complimentary to the separate actions of employers and individuals in the workforce is the power our communities develop when employers and individuals work together to put each other’s stories on display.

Employers should not fear encouraging their workforce to display their skills and projects completed for the employer. Displaying skills and projects via social media is a reciprocal activity that can provide advancement within the workforce for the individual while validating the quality of an employer’s activity.

Like any operations, however, quality control in media is important. Build quality control procedures around media, in the same manner you develop quality control procedures for the line or in the field.

Our workforce and our economic leaders in Southern Illinois have the capacity to make us part of the conversation. Becoming part of the conversation is the first step to success in the twenty-first century. Our actions, once we’re part of the conversation, will determine our long-term viability as part of a global market.

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