CEG to provide tours to connect outside talent to area

The Center for Economic Growth has added a personal touch to its efforts to promote business develop

The Center for Economic Growth has added a personal touch to its efforts to promote business development in the Capital Region — tours for nonresidents being recruited to live and work in this area.

It’s part of Talent Connect, which the CEG took over and renamed in February after Tech Valley Connect founder Angela McNerney was looking to leave that business.

“They brought it to us and we loved it right away,” said John Giordano, director of Talent Connect. “One of [CEG’s] missions is talent, so it fit right in.”

Tech Valley Connect was formed to provide a service to companies trying to attract new employees to the region. Talent Connect is doing the same thing: Giving these potential residents information about what the area has to offer. This goes well beyond the standard databases one might use to learn about a region before moving there.

One of the main functions, for example, is helping a professional find a job after his or her spouse is recruited to the area.

“It’s a wonderful job for one of them, but how long is it going to take to find the spouse or partner a job?” Giordano said. Talent Connect will help with that process.

Another key function is “community connectivity,” Giordano explained — whether a prospective resident can connect to the community. Will they be able to get the same treatment for a medical problem as they get in their current hometown? What presence does their chosen religion have in this area? Where are the best programs for a child who is a soccer star? What acceptance do gays and lesbians find?

A company can commission Talent Connect to answer these questions for a prospective employee.

“You cross into very personal conversations where the company human-resources department can’t go,” Giordano said.

The services offered, prices charged and clients served have been unchanged since CEG took over Tech Valley Connect, but on Tuesday, CEG announced a new offering: personal guided tours.

“Now we have a direct involvement in helping someone,” Giordano said.

His own background is in tours; he previously ran a tour service in Albany and was one of the founders of Albany Aqua Ducks.

The difference here is that instead of a motor coach full of tourists, the new tours will mostly be for one person or a family considering making the Capital Region their new home.

Giordano said there are three guides on call who can provide the tours, and they’ve already done their first run.

Interim CEG President Mike Hickey said in a news release that the each tour will be tailored to the questions and interests of the person or group that takes it. In the Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady and Troy areas, on foot or in a vehicle, they may see landmarks such as The Capitol, SPAC, Proctors and EMPAC, as well as museums, parks, restaurants and shops.

“It’s safe to say that no two tours will be alike,” he said. “Each itinerary will be custom-made to ensure that participants see what’s most important to them, from our region’s distinctive history and culture to our vibrant arts and entertainment scene.”

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