Romer: Vail Valley Partnership aiding ‘trailing spouse’ initiative (column) |

Romer: Vail Valley Partnership aiding ‘trailing spouse’ initiative (column)

Chris Romer
Vail Valley Partnership

Retaining a positive and motivated staff is vital to an organization’s success. High employee turnover increases expenses and often has a negative effect on company morale. In an ever-competitive job market, employers must focus on employee retention to help ensure key workers remain employed while maintaining job performance and productivity.

In the Vail Valley, 43 percent of businesses responding to our annual workforce report indicate that jobs are open two months or more. To little surprise, stresses on employee retention including housing and child care. Less recognized, yet vitally important, is the integration of newly relocated employees and their partners into the community.

Broader Approach

To help address this issue, Vail Valley Partnership and High Country Human Resource Association are happy to partner on the MyPartner Career Network, a “trailing spouse” initiative designed to make it easier for local businesses to recruit and retain specialized employees by taking a broader approach to community integration and support.

MyPartner Career Network allows local businesses to collaborate to help find employment, when needed, for spouses or partners of prospective high-value employees hired from out of the region, who are often costly and time-consuming to replace.

Appropriate talent for many specialized positions often doesn’t exist within the local labor market, forcing many Eagle County firms to recruit and hire from outside the region. Doing so carries risks, such as increased timelines to fill open positions and potentially significant employee relocation costs.

Ensuring Connection to Community

Out-of-area hiring also introduces variables that often work against long-term employee retention. Chief among these risks is the fact that many professionals new to the area often bring along a “trailing spouse,” a husband, wife or partner — thrilled to move to the mountains — but left without a career. Prospective employees may be hesitant to relocate to Eagle County in part because their partner may struggle to find suitable employment in the valley’s relatively small trade area.

Not only is it crucial for many local households to secure a dual income arrangement to account for area living expenses, but helping trailing partners find a satisfying profession is often the key to ensuring that both partners feel connected to the community.

This network will help local employers retain new talent for the long-term by assisting whole families in finding rewarding employment here in the valley.

Collaborative Model

MyPartner Career Network uses a collaborative model to allow participating businesses to share the resume of a partner or spouse of a newly-hired employee who will be relocating to Eagle County, across a network of other local businesses.

Resumes can be submitted through an online form and are distributed to all Vail Valley Partnership and High Country Human Resource Association members who have opted to participate in the program. Companies that receive a resume through the network agree to provide a priority review of all resumes received through the program, and are strongly encouraged to make an introduction for the candidate to another contact in the community that might assist in their job search and build their local network.

If your business has a hard time hiring and retaining quality employees for technical, managerial or otherwise specialized positions, then MyPartner Career Network can help. It is a free service to all businesses in Eagle County and our goal is to reduce the time, cost and risks of hiring for companies looking to hire for specialized positions that may be difficult to fill locally.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at

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