Over 175 guests assembled in the Radisson Hotel Ballroom for the 60th biennial event of The Economic Forum TM on Thursday, October 13, 2016. There, a panel of speakers was asked to share their approach to combat the workforce development challenges – a major issue facing employers today. The panel included Kurt Bear, Chair of The Upper Mississippi Manufacturing Alliance (TUMMA), Michael Richards and Lisa Herr, Officials from 7 Rivers Alliance, and Michael Finney, President of Community Ventures Resources, Inc. The three speakers summarized the issues they see as it relates to workforce development and possible strategies to dealing with a limited workforce.
First, Kurt Bear gave an update on the progress made at TUMMA since its start, almost a year prior, at the LADCO’s Fall Economic Forum in October of 2015. He also detailed the trends in the manufacturing industry by revealing key statistics. Next, Lisa Herr and Michael Richards explained a major workforce development plan: Workforce Innovation for a Strong Economy (WISE) initiative, which calls for the creation and implementation of a strategic plan that outlines the next decade of workforce approaches to be used in Western Wisconsin. Finally, Michael Finney shared his success with workforce development in Michigan. The Community Ventures initiative promotes employment structurally unemployed workers in Michigan’s most distressed urban areas. His insights impressed the audience and fueled further discussion at an meeting held after the event.
LADCO holds great hope that the informative presentations shared on Thursday, take hold of the business leaders, elected officials, educational representatives, and non-profit organizations present. To review the presentations given at this event and additional handouts view the following links:
WISE Presentation: The WISE Plan
Community Ventures Presentation: Community Ventures of Michigan