South by Southwest: Attracting Talent to Lincoln


South by Southwest: Attracting Talent to Lincoln

Members from our talent, innovation and entrepreneurship team traveled to Austin, Texas, for SXSW (South by Southwest) in March. Many recognize this event for its new and emerging music; however it’s grown to include an extensive focus on innovation, jobs and new technology.

A social media campaign helped to identify former Nebraskans now living and working in the Austin area and invited them to come by to learn how Lincoln has grown and changed. Our goal, of course, is to have them return to Lincoln to continue their careers and raise their families. Several stopped by and let us know they’d received our invitation.

Many SXSW attendees have heard rumblings about the “silicon prairie” and were excited to see representatives in person. Our staff members were able to speak with many diverse, tech-skilled people looking for new opportunities.

The Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development has workforce development as a major priority for Lincoln. Attracting professionals, young families, entrepreneurs and those with technology and health care skills are of particular importance … a really good match for attendees of SXSW.

The SXSW Job Market Expo attracted more than 10,000 people; with the Partnership’s display at the Expo collecting several hundred leads. Those leads will be shared with our Human Resources Recruitment Forum.

An all-new 360 virtual reality video tour of Lincoln (VR head-set and all) drew additional attention to the display as the 360 view is still unique enough to fascinate people.

A staff member also attended the SXSW Startup Village to get content ideas from the Interactive Conference to help with strategy development for Lincoln.

Nebraska Exposed, a daylong showcase for eight Lincoln and Omaha bands, amped up Nebraska’s presence on March 15, at Cheers, an iconic Sixth Street venue at the epicenter of SXSW.

While SXSW is targeting the young, tech-skilled marketplace, the Partnership is also working a strategy to target markets where layoffs have occurred. MD Anderson in Houston recently had a significant layoff. We are targeting that area with workforce development messages with the goal of attracting health care workers to Lincoln.

We’ll be evaluating the effectiveness of our attendance to SXSW and our social media strategies. So far, it’s looking good.

Working together we can ensure that Lincoln continues to grow and prosper with a talented and vital workforce. The Partnership continues to do its part to help make that happen.

Lincoln Chamber of Commerce - Joining Organizations LogoThe Chamber’s mission is to improve the lives of Lincoln residents by providing increased economic opportunity and can only be accomplished together. For more information on the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, ( please contact Jaime Henning at