Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Educational Opportunities A Key Factor In Economic Development

House Values Inc., a company that assists real estate professionals succeed by providing them with leads and training on using the Internet, is opening a satellite facility in Yakima. House Values President Clayton Lewis said Yakima was chosen not only because of the available work force and friendly business community but because of its educational opportunities. New Vision, the Yakima Development Association, and Yakima political and business leaders worked very hard to entice the company to Yakima over locations in New York and Arkansas that the company was considering. House Values was such an attractive new business because it offers above- market wages and benefits to its employees. The company will employ 350 workers to begin with but plans to expand to the 650 employees that the facility will hold. Chances are very good that expansion will come sooner rather than later since House Values, which is traded on NASDAQ, was named the fastest growing technology company in North America by Deloitte and Touche, a financial advisory service firm.

A group of House Values’ management team had met with the community college, CWU and WSU to see if they could meet the educational needs of their business before deciding to locate in Yakima. The company was interested in employees with four-year degrees in business or liberal arts and also MBA graduates. We discussed at length what skills their employees needed and what degrees would best give them those skills. House Values went away secure in the knowledge that the key educational programs they required for their workforce were available in Yakima.

Yakima Mayor Paul George, said, "Employers like House Values enhance the quality of life in the Yakima Valley by offering above-market compensation and benefits
that supports families, as well as the potential of significant upside for top performers. This investment is a huge victory for the entire region."