A new initiative aimed at helping Door County employers meet the current and future demand for qualified workers is getting a boost from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
WEDC has awarded the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) a $50,000 matching grant for its Grow Door County initiative, a four-year plan focused on attracting and retaining employees.
Grow Door County is tackling the region’s workforce development issue on three fronts:
- Engaging with local employees to develop the resources needed to retain and recruit new employees;
- Educating Door County students about post-high school options, with an emphasis on local businesses; and
- Working with municipalities to develop more housing options, particularly more multifamily housing.
“Ensuring that Wisconsin companies are able to find qualified workers for today and tomorrow is a top priority for WEDC, and this grant is an example of how we work with local and regional economic development organizations to develop innovative ways to address this issue,” said Barb LaMue, vice president of business and community development for WEDC, the state’s lead economic development agency. “These organizations best understand the strengths of the local labor force and the needs of the business community, and are well positioned to help meet those needs.” “We are extremely grateful to the WEDC for the opportunity to more effectively market Door County as a destination for full-time residents, especially in light of our current workforce crunch,” said DCEDC Executive Director Caleb Frostman. “We have a compelling quality of life package here in Door County, including five state parks, 300 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, high-quality public schools, and a diverse economy. The funds from the WEDC grant will help us communicate that story to a wider audience and increase net in-migration to our area.”
The matching grant from WEDC will help fund the development and implementation of a marketing plan aimed at attracting residents and employees to Door County.
“Designing and delivering a comprehensive marketing platform that targets Door County vacationers and seasonal homeowners has been in our work plan for some time,” stated DCEDC Board Chair Mike Baudhuin of Wiretech Fabricators. “The matching funds awarded via the WEDC grant will help Door County employers compete for top-notch talent across the entire region in multiple industries.”
As part of the initiative, DCEDC plans to increase its presence across multiple media, including the creation of a website that would provide individuals interested in relocating to Door County with community information on topics such as employment, housing, education and health care.
DCEDC also plans to work with the Door County Community Foundation to establish and maintain a local high school alumni network that will keep the county’s graduates connected to their home community and to communicate with them about the career and entrepreneurial opportunities that exist in Door County.
Grow Door County has also been supported by the Raibrook Foundation. Grow Door County aligns with Think-Make-Happen In Wisconsin, a new unifying message that celebrates the opportunities Wisconsin offers for business, personal and professional fulfillment.
WEDC and its partners around the state have launched Think-Make-Happen In Wisconsin to communicate Wisconsin’s competitive advantage of world-class education and innovation, industry leadership, renowned workforce, and high quality of life. Think-Make-Happen also is being used to build greater understanding of the opportunities offered through the multitude of initiatives geared towards readying and aligning our future workforce to the needs of Wisconsin employers.