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Summit to address Wisconsin workforce shortages set for Aug. 11

EAU CLAIRE, Wis., Aug. 2, 2022 (Competitive Wisconsin) – Leaders from Momentum West, the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce and Competitive Wisconsin Inc. (CWI) confirmed today they are convening a major summit on how best to accelerate plans that would strengthen community ability to recruit, attract and retain the workers and people the state needs to secure its economic future and protect public wellbeing. The statewide in-person and virtual summit for local government officials, employers, other community leaders and interested citizens will be held at the University of Eau Claire, Davies Student Center, Thursday, August 11, 2022, from 8:00 am to noon.

“We can’t grow our economy, provide the services our citizens need, or build the future we all want without addressing the shortage of workers in Wisconsin,” said Steve Jahn, executive director of Momentum West, adding “and, we can’ t do that without helping our employers and communities meet in-demand workers expectations about housing, early care and education, and health care, just to mention a few.”

Dave Minor, president and CEO of the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce agreed, saying, “Wisconsin’s been grappling with workforce and population shortages for a long time and we are still not where we need to be. In the aftermath of the pandemic, the competition for workers and their families has become more competitive than ever, and we need to focus more strategically, immediately and aggressively on keeping the workers we have and persuading non-Wisconsin workers and future workers to join our Wisconsin residential population and workforce.”

According to Mark O’Connell, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Counties Association (WCA) and vice chair of CWI, the Summit on Workforce Retention, Attraction and Recruitment is one of nine summits CWI is organizing as part of a CWI initiative called “Wisconsin Tomorrow” dedicated to working with local and regional leaders around the state on specific workforce recruitment and retention enhancement strategies, including early childhood care and education, housing, broadband, health care, transportation, community quality of life and opportunity, energy and rural resurgence.

“The need for these community-strengthening workforce recruitment and retention strategies was apparent last year when elected officials and community leaders came together to discuss how best to invest the more than $2 billion dedicated to local governments in Wisconsin in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA ) at a CWI virtual gathering co-hosted by the WCA, the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, the Wisconsin Towns Association and the UW System,” O’Connell noted. “At that meeting we talked about the need for more expertise and information, identification of investment options for this one-time money that would be sustainable over time, and the creation of strategic collaborations dedicated to specific outcomes. The Wisconsin Tomorrow Summits will help us on all of these fronts.”

The Momentum West, Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce and Competitive Wisconsin Inc. Wisconsin Tomorrow Summit on Workforce Retention, Attraction and Recruitment is being co-hosted by UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout, Chippewa Valley Technical College, St. Croix Economic Development Corporation, Greater Menomonie Development Corporation and Wisconsin Counties Association. It is being sponsored by American Family Insurance, Wisconsin Counties Association, and Wood Communications Group.

In-person registration is available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wisconsin-tomorrow-workforce-recruitment-attraction-retention-tickets-375268406907. Virtual registration is available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wisconsin-tomorrow-workforce-recruitment-attraction-retention-zoom-tickets-375285016587.

Competitive Wisconsin, Inc. is a unique mission-driven, non-partisan, collaboration established in 1981 by leaders of Wisconsin’s business, labor, agricultural, academic and governmental communities to identify, understand and develop strategic options to address major systemic and structural challenges to the state’s economic and social wellbeing.

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