Central to Success Workforce Solutions Summit to help with worker retention and expansion

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) – Six local chambers of commerce are coming together to try to solve the labor crisis in central Wisconsin.

The chambers will host the Central to Success Workforce Solutions Summit to promote workforce development in the region. The summit is a collaborative effort between the 6 chambers of commerce to attract and retain employees in central Wisconsin.

“We are under threat, and this is a long-term threat to our region,” said Dave Eckmann, president and CEO of the Wausau Chamber of Commerce.

From Merrill to Wisconsin Rapids, central Wisconsin has more job openings than workers to fill them.

“We just don’t have enough talent to support the economic growth that’s happening in all of our communities,” Eckmann said.

There are several reasons for the labor crisis. One of them is the major metropolitan cities that attract talent from central Wisconsin.

“We don’t have the people capacity that Minneapolis St. Paul has or Eau Claire has next to Minneapolis St. Paul. We are in a talent desert. This is our biggest challenge,” Eckmann said.

Individually, the chambers said they lacked the resources to retain and recruit talent in central Wisconsin. Instead, the 6 Chambers of Commerce will work as a group to focus on workforce development by pooling their resources.

“To solve the problem, we have to work together. We need to strategically connect all of our resources together,” Eckmann said.

This summer’s Solutions Summit will find solutions to labor shortages and bring them to life.

“You have to talk about it in 3 ways, attraction, retention and expansion,” said Scott Larson of the Marshfield Chamber of Commerce.

The Solutions Summit will be a place for business leaders to share ideas, talk recruitment and learn how to retain employees for years to come.

“And why it will provide a valuable opportunity for our employers to hear these industry expert solutions on how to attract and retain talent,” Larson said.

Chambers said the solutions summit will be crucial for the region.

“That’s where people need to come and listen, get involved in the process to make your business more appealing,” Larson said.

The Central to Success Workforce Solutions Summit will take place on June 1 at the Central Wisconsin Convention and Expo Center in Rothschild.

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Michael A. Bynum