2017 Workforce Summit Summary

7 Rivers Alliance and LADCO hosted the 2017 Workforce Summit on Wednesday, May 31st at the Day’s Inn of La Crosse. A group of over 100 guests gathered in the conference center to discuss workforce development issues and strategies in our region. First Ken Poole, CEO of the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness (CREC), took the floor, giving the group a summary the issues surrounding workforce development captured in the Strategic Workforce Issues Briefing Paper. The group was asked to think critically about what specific challenges they feel are dire in our area as they relate to workforce development when listening to the day’s presentations.

Then, the guests heard from a variety of panels. The first panel discussed talent preparation strategies, which included
Eleva-Strum High School’s innovative Cardinal Manufacturing Program in their tech-ed department, La Crosse Promise’s future centers & neighborhood programs, and
7 River’s INSPIRE program. Next, talent recruitment was discussed by a panel of speakers. Kristen Olson explained the trailing spouse concierge service used in Austin, MN. Megan Harcey of Kwik Trip spoke about Kwik Trip’s generous profit sharing program, which includes all employees. Beth Pritzl discussed the Fox Cities computer sciences recruitment strategies with their upload program. The third panel talked about possible talent retention strategies. Guests heard about innovative flex scheduling models, talent sharing companies, and how to create more family friendly workplaces. The final panel addressed barriers to workers, giving presentations on programs that could improve access to childcare, connect regional transportation, and make housing more affordable.

The guests met in small groups to prioritize issues related to workforce and apply what the panels shared earlier to give possible solutions to the major challenges we face. Then, each group shared what was discussed in their smaller groups with the whole. From what was shared, CREC was able to dilute the larger workforce problems and see what programs were shared today that inspire solutions.

More information and presentations can be viewed on 7 River Alliance’s WEBSITE.