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Help grow the workforce and your business
July 12, 2017

You can help create our future workforce -- now      
Executive director
Here's a quick quiz.

Does your business have all the employees it needs?

Will you need employees in the future?

If you answered yes to the first, you're either self employed or very fortunate. And if you answered no to the second, you are either planning to close your business or continue to keep it small.

The workforce shortage and quality of workers continues to be one of the main challenges for businesses small and large. It's also kept our economic growth tepid as it's difficult to expand without a workforce. 

Many employers I talk to keenly feel the challenge of finding good workers during periods of low unemployment. Those that want jobs have them and those looking for work have a tendency to hop from job-to-job.

I'd love to tell you that all of this will get easier, but the demographics are sobering. Baby Boomers like myself - for the record I am on the last cusp of the Boomers - are rapidly retiring. Even though Wisconsin's population is expected to increase 800,000 by 2040, the workforce will shrink. In 2010 there were 777,500 Wisconsinites aged 65 or over. That will increase to 1.535 million in 2040 - nearly doubling.

So what's the answer? Clearly we need more workers, but part of the solution is making sure that we're keeping our own. We need to do a better job letting our local youth - our future workforce - know about all of the great job opportunities that are available in Jackson County.

That is on the goals of the Inspire 7 Rivers initiative, which aims to help students and job seekers achieve their goals and also address community workforce needs. Starting with this school year, Jackson County will be the first county in the region to start this program. It builds upon career education software already being used in the Black River Falls School District which will be mandatory for all Wisconsin schools starting this year.

I'm pleased that the Black River Area Chamber of Commerce has been a partner with this project because we know how important it is. And here's how you can help. We're looking for businesses and employers to set up company profiles. We need all types of businesses - small to large - to make sure we have a good representation of what the community offers.

Once you're signed up, you can use discussion boards to engage students and job seekers, offer job shadows or internships and make connections with future job seekers. We also need career coaches to help answer questions from students about an industry or a career.

Want to learn more? Of course you do. You can visit http://www.7riversalliance.org/inspire-7rivers/ for more information about the program or email inspire7riversalliance@gmail.com. You can also give me a call and I'd be happy to fill you in.
It only takes a few minutes to register. It's a small investment to help make a big difference in the future.
 
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