Many young professionals who left Washington after high school could soon be getting a guilt trip to return home.

“We spoke to your mother and she would love for you to be a Washington Young Professional.”

That is the message former Washington area students will get when they receive a postcard that links to a Washington career site.

The Washington Young Ambassadors (WYA) is reaching out to other young professionals through its “Mother’s Day Guilt” campaign. The drive targets those who left parents, or other family, behind college or employment, according to Sal Maniaci, community and economic development director, and member of the group.

The WYA is the steering committee for the Washington Young Professionals.

The ultimate goal through the lighthearted marketing campaign is to promote Washington’s job and housing markets, and community events.

“The goal is find as many families in town with children who have moved away and have them send postcards,” Maniaci said.

Those families are encouraged to visit the Downtown Washington Post Office and mail a postcard, postage already paid, to their out-of-town loved ones.

The postcards include a QR Code, a two-dimensional barcode which is encoded with a URL, that will direct the recipients to a site with job listings, housing, and past and upcoming events.

The QR code will go to a landing page with tabs leading them to jobs, housing, and past and upcoming events.

The campaign also promotes the city’s employment site, washmo.gov/jobs/, which features submitted employment opportunities in the community.

“The goal is to reconnect with as many alumni and past students as we can and get them reacquainted with Washington,” Maniaci said. “It will show them the things that have changed and all of the opportunities we have here.”

The printing and postage for the Mother’s Day Guilt Trip is funded by the Washington Young Professionals group through proceeds from a pub crawl held last month.

“We want to get as many eyes as we can on the landing page as possible,” Maniaci said. “Plus they can learn more about what Washington has to offer as a whole.”

Even if they are not looking to relocate, the recipients can share information with their friends.

“They can see the creative and progressive things happening here,” Maniaci added.

Family and friends of out-of-town alumni are encouraged to visit the post office after May 1 to send the postcards. People also may reach out to Maniaci at 636-390-1004 for more information. The deadline to send the cards is Mother’s Day.

About a week before the deadline, digital postcards will be available to be shared through social media, he added.

“But we are trying to keep this as professional as possible,” Maniaci said.

Young Ambassador’s Goals

The WYA is a joint effort between the city of Washington and Washington Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Mother’s Day campaign follows its mission statement to “advocate for Washington as a place for young professionals to start and build a career. They will look to provide opportunities for personal and professional growth while marketing Washington as a thriving destination for employers.”

The steering committee was formed last year with goals to host quarterly networking events, biannual professional development workshops and to implement a marketing plan.

Now the group has begun shooting videos for a visual campaign that will highlight aspects of Washington. The six videos will include information about industries, downtown, the city, chamber and other topics.

The videos will be shown as advertisements online and through social media, and in particular, college towns in Missouri and Illinois will be targets to draw eyes to the city’s career website.

The videos are expected to be completed by the first day of the Washington Town & Country Fair.

The next Washington Young Professionals happy hour will be a “crash course in smart money decisions” sponsored by the Bank of Washington. It will be held Thursday, April 18, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the downtown Bank of Washington location on the fourth floor.

Maniaci added that all ages are welcome at the young professionals events.

“It’s good for young professionals to be able to interact and mentor with those who have been part of the business community for a long time,” he said. “The more the merrier.”