This past March, I posted about the upcoming economic opportunity connecting Greater Mankato to the Super Bowl being hosted in Minneapolis in 2018. The connection of Greater Mankato to the professional sports market gained further momentum recently.
The largest issue facing businesses in our local economy is workforce challenges. This isn’t localized to our area either. Demographic shifts are impacting the national labor force as Baby Boomers age out of the workforce. These challenges take different forms depending on the industry, from training to just having enough people to staff a 2nd shift.
Mankato based MRCI WorkSource, a leader in providing employment to people with disabilities, has formed a partnership with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx. The partnership includes in-arena branding, radio spots, fundraising events, a presence on Timberwolves.com and social media features.
“This partnership will increase our visibility in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas, as well as help introduce us to individuals and organizations that could help us fulfill our mission of helping people with disabilities find employment in our communities” said Benshoof. “We’re excited about this partnership, and the potential possibilities it creates.”
Possibilities is right. MRCI is going to be able to heighten awareness around the employment services they are able to provide at a whole new scale. Professional sports franchises have expansive networks. These networks will spotlight the great work MRCI is doing and be brought to the attention of many new businesses, organizations and philanthropists.
There is also a very established tie between Greater Mankato and professional basketball: Greater Mankato businessman and philanthropist Glen Taylor. Mr. Taylor is the owner of both professional basketball franchises and has a well chronicled history of supporting the Greater Mankato area…especially in regards to sports. Examples include the Taylor Family Aquatic Center at the Mankato Family YMCA and the Taylor Center at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Professional sports and Greater Mankato have an evolving relationship. A direct economic benefit to the community can be tough to identify immediately; however, the awareness and networking opportunity that can create an economic benefit is not. Because Mankato-North Mankato is a newer metropolitan area, any partnership that will increase awareness of our area through expansive established networks can have long term economic benefit.