When Gretchen Conley joined Specialized Accounting Services three years ago, she was one of 65 employees at the growing financial services firm.
As the Pleasant Prairie-based certified public accounting firm has continued to grow, it now has 90 employees and still needs more as it’s about to celebrate it’s 1,500th client next month.
“We’ve grown by 20 percent every year,” she said. “We’re constantly recruiting accountants.”
The need for more accountants has Conley, the company’s human resource manager, attending job fairs and college campuses throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
“The biggest challenge we faced was when we went outside the area to recruit,” she explained. “If we were in Chicago, Waukegan or in Whitewater, we’d have to explained where we were located. At recruitment events, we could only explain where Kenosha was by using landmarks. We said a lot of, ‘Do you know where Six Flags Great America is? We are 20 minutes north of there.’
“It was much more difficult,” Conley said. “If we were at UW-Parkside, people there knew where we were.”
Life Balanced website
Recruitment has begun to get better for SAS and other local employers thanks to the Kenosha Area Business Alliance’s new Life Balanced Kenosha County relocation website.
Jessica Schmidt, a buyer and assistant category manager at Jockey International, said she is excited about the tool.
“It should be a great tool for local businesses recruiting new talent as well as people considering relocation to this area,” she said. “I believe our HR team plans to use if for recruitment and new hires. I also will use it as a resource for any new hires on my team.”
Introduced several weeks ago, KABA calls Life Balanced Kenosha County “a comprehensive resource for Kenosha County’s major employers, community organizations and anyone looking to live or work in Kenosha County.”
The website emphasizes the area’s attributes, such as “short commutes, affordable housing, a growing economy, beautiful lakefront and a vibrant arts scene.”
It touts that residents can strike a balance between work and their home life, free time and personal finances.
On the site
Website visitors can find information about housing, transportation and health care in the “Live Here” section.
“Work Here” helps visitors learn about job growth, industries and employers and the YLink organization for young proessionals.
“Play Here” features material on shopping, dining, arts, recreation attraction and events hotel accommodations and downtown Kenosha.
In the “Learn Here” section, visitors can find information on early, K-12 and college and university education.
Conley said using the website has made her recruitment task easier.
“We direct potential candidates to the website to see all that Kenosha County has to offer,” she said. “We also show videos from the website when we hold our career fair, and people rave about how enjoyable and informative the videos are. Even people from the Kenosha area find new and interesting places to check out.
“It’s a great tool for recruitment,” Conley added. “This website has given SAS the opportunity to direct our applicants to information regarding the life that Kenosha County has to offer. It’s a valuable tool we consider a benefit because we are assisting people beyond the normal information they receive when applying or interviewing for a company.”
Royette Evans, a school counselor with Washington Middle School, said the website has changed the way he does things. He plans to use it as an educational and mentoring tool for young people, as well as to help with recruiting.
“I use the website now as one of the tools in my resource box to help friends and family that may be interested in moving to the Kenosha area,” he said. “I think the website is awesome, and it provides a wealth of information to the Kenosha community and to other communities.”
One of his missions is to mentor and help young people as much as he can.
“I plan on using the website to show young men in the African American Male Initiative group that I lead and the African American Female Initiative group that Syretta Evans leads at Washington Middle School all of the opportunities that are offered right in the community that we live in,” he said.
“I also plan to use it to help other students to see opportunities that are available to them. Overall, I am very excited about the website and for what the future holds for Kenosha though KABA.”