MANHATTAN, Kan., Oct. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Unemployment rates throughout the country remain high but in Manhattan, Kansas growing companies like CivicPlus, the leading developer of local government websites, continue to display Help Wanted signs for well-paying professional jobs.
Known as the "Little Apple" and located 57 miles west of Topeka, Manhattan is a thriving small city of nearly 53,000 and a contender for Money Magazine's 2011 list of the 100 Best Small Cities in America. It is home to Kansas State University and Fort Riley Army Base.
"America's heartland isn't exactly a location that comes to mind when most job seekers are scouting for high-tech positions, but Manhattan has a lot to offer," said Jeff Wheeler, vice president of human resources for CivicPlus. "You have Silicon Valley in the West and Silicon Alley in the East. Now we're developing a budding 'Silicon Prairie' in America's heartland. It's often hard to convince candidates to move here but once they come to Manhattan they love our great schools, cultural programs, recreational facilities and easy commuting."
John Pagen, vice president of economic development for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce, said that in 2011 Manhattan was named by Forbes magazine as the #1 Best Small Place in the U.S. for Business and Careers. "Manhattan's economy is definitely on the rise," Pagen said. "According to USA Today our city currently is the hub of the state's most affluent metro area. That's impressive when you consider that in 2000 we were the poorest of the state's six metro areas."
CivicPlus currently is looking to fill more than two dozen jobs in areas including software development, graphic design, project management, software sales, business development and marketing. The ten-year-old company, which specializes in developing websites that increase citizen engagement, government accountability and operational efficiencies, recently was selected by Inc. Magazine as One of the Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies in the U.S.
"Six new employees completed our 'Red Carpet Rollout' on-boarding program in September," Wheeler said. "These are well-paying professional jobs with benefits and the opportunity for advancement. Our company is a perfect example of the silver lining in the new economy. Cities and counties need to do more with less, and citizens are demanding online access to government services and transactions. These trends are fueling our growth and creating new opportunities for professionals with the skills and talent to create innovative ways to help communities engage and interact. Our workforce has grown six-fold in our first 10 years and we expect that number to double in the next two to three years -- from about 100 employees today to 200 and possibly more."
Even as the statewide unemployment rate edges higher - 6.7 percent in August - job seekers in Manhattan continue to have their pick of a variety of good jobs.
"Manhattan's unemployment rate is presently 4.8 percent, well below the statewide average and the national rate of 9.1 percent," said Pagen. "This can be attributed to the fact that Manhattan is the service, retail and entertainment hub for an eight-county region. In 2001 retail sales were about $600 million; in 2011 they will top $1 billion. Area leaders are committed to diversifying the Manhattan economy and continuing to make it a place that attracts and retains world-class talent."
Recent Kansas State University grad Kevin McRell, of Manhattan, is one of the new employees who joined CivicPlus last month. "CivicPlus has the energy and excitement of a start-up but the stability of a ten-year-old company," he said. "I really enjoy the passion of CivicPlus people and the atmosphere of innovation. I attended a 'Lunch Plus' brainstorming session my first day on the job and was impressed with the fact that here, everyone has a voice."
Richland Park, Kansas native Erica Hopwood, a graphic designer and 2008 graduate of Kansas State, agrees. "I felt appreciated and valued from day one. The company truly wants me to be happy in my job and that, in turn, energizes me to do great things," she said.
Wheeler said that innovation and creativity are valued and nurtured at CivicPlus and employees quickly get the sense of being part of something big. "The way that citizens use the web has changed and it's our job to keep governments ahead of the curve," he said.
For more information about CivicPlus careers visit http://www.civicplus.com/careers or call 888-228-2233.