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Status of local broadband projects – an update

Monday, December 10, 2018

NORTHWESTERN WISCONSIN – Last fall the Leader reported that several local internet service providers were selected to receive federal funding to upgrade their internet networks in Burnett, Polk and Washburn counties. This August the Register began to research where each company was in their projects. Funding The funding sources are the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund II projects and the Alternative Connect America Model projects, which are both federal programs. CAF II is an option the FCC created for price-cap carriers, which are the large, long-established companies that include AT&T, CenturyLink and Frontier. A-CAM is an option the FCC created for rate-of-return...
Wisconsin manufacturers make it happen

Friday, December 07, 2018

Learn more about the state’s top economic contributor during Manufacturing Month Manufacturing Month is here. Throughout October, the focus is on the innovative and resilient manufacturers that make it happen for our state’s economy. There are more than 9,000 manufacturers in Wisconsin that employ nearly 470,000 people. The industrial sector is the top contributor to the state’s growing economy, producing more than $59 billion in total output in 2017, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of the state’s total Gross Domestic Product. Manufacturing is being highlighted and celebrated at nearly 100 events and conferences throughout Wisconsin in October. Manufacturers across the state are...
Wisconsin helps veterans translate their skills to a post-military career

Thursday, December 06, 2018

It’s no secret that former service members make some of the best employees in the workforce. Those transitioning out of the military possess qualities that every employer is looking for, including leadership; flexibility; adaptability; the ability to work as both a team leader and a team member; the aptitude to work under pressure and meet deadlines; the ability to follow directions in an appropriate manner; planning and organizational skills; a strong commitment to working safely; and so much more. Given its long history of manufacturing leadership and continued innovation in fields that are driving global commerce, Wisconsin provides thousands of jobs that...
Wisconsin helps veterans translate their skills to a post-military career

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

It’s no secret that former service members make some of the best employees in the workforce. Those transitioning out of the military possess qualities that every employer is looking for, including leadership; flexibility; adaptability; the ability to work as both a team leader and a team member; the aptitude to work under pressure and meet deadlines; the ability to follow directions in an appropriate manner; planning and organizational skills; a strong commitment to working safely; and so much more. Given its long history of manufacturing leadership and continued innovation in fields that are driving global commerce, Wisconsin provides thousands of jobs that...
Students, educators have more opportunities for career exploration with launch of Inspire Wisconsin network

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

More than 230,000 students will be able to directly connect to businesses statewide as regions expand collaborative efforts MADISON, WI.  Oct. 11, 2018 – Students throughout Wisconsin now have access to additional career development and mentorship tools starting as early as sixth grade in a platform that directly connects local employers to students, thanks to a new statewide collaboration. School districts throughout the state have been using a web-based platform called Inspire at the local and regional level to connect area businesses to their future talent pool through online profiles, virtual career coaches, and career-based online learning activities for students and educators. Under the...
MARKETPLACE 2018 Conference on minority business development set for December in Milwaukee

Monday, December 03, 2018

Statewide conference enables minority, woman and veteran-owned businesses to meet government and corporate buyers, connect with lenders and business resources MADISON, WI.  – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is hosting the 37th annual statewide conference for minority, woman and veteran-owned businesses Dec. 12-13 at Potawatomi Hotel and Conference Center in Milwaukee. The conference is expected to draw more than 600 attendees and is sponsored by corporations, small businesses and organizations, with US Bank being this year’s Keystone Sponsor. MARKETPLACE is the premier annual statewide business capacity-building conference for minority, woman and veteran business owners looking to do business with state, federal and local governments...
Building Our Workforce

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Hiring and retaining quality employees has become a top issue for many Polk County employers.  The challenge is that there are too few qualified candidates to fill the open positions.  This is compounded by the fact that slightly more of our ‘working age’ people are moving out of Polk County compared to those moving in. There are efforts to offset this negative net-migration.  For starters, an effort to build a ‘pipeline’ of talent from our local schools is underway.  Programs like Youth Apprenticeship and Inspire/Career Cruising are programs aimed at helping young people find good job opportunities near home. Another way to...
The Osceola Main Street Program/Chamber of Commerce and Polk County Economic Development Corporation Launch “Simple Steps for Growing Your Small Business” Workshop Series

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Osceola, WI – The Osceola Main Street Program/Chamber of Commerce and Polk County Economic Development Corporation in collaboration with U W Extension, Small Business Development Center and SCORE, Launch “Simple Steps for Growing Your Business Small Business” Workshop Series to empower owners of existing small businesses to the next level. “This 5 session series kicking off on January 9th at the recently opened Discovery Center in Osceola will provide our small businesses tools and resources that will enable them to increase their profitability and level of success”, says Germaine Ross, Osceola Chamber and Mainstreet Program Director. The workshops will cover managing your time...
Five generations later, family still farming

Friday, November 09, 2018

The years spread between five generations are numerous, and when a family shares the same passion throughout those years, a truly beautiful vision can be accomplished. This is evidenced by the Carlson farm sprawling over 2,600 acres of land; it is fully outfitted with fields, silos, barns, storage buildings, various farming equipment, a semi truck, and a wind turbine. Five generations of farmers built the farm from the ground up and continue overseeing it to this day.  The story starts with Christian Strohbeen, who emigrated from Germany with his family and settled in Iowa. The family arrived with a farming background, and...
65 ways to get started with downtown revitalization

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Join the WEDC Connect Communities program (if you are not already) or consider joining the Main Street program if you’ve been participating in Connect Communities for a while and are ready to take the next step. Hold a downtown stakeholder meeting. Show PowerPoint presentations or videos available from Wisconsin Main Street or ask a member of the staff to make a presentation. Then figure out the strengths and weaknesses of your downtown and set some goals. Beat the streets … know your constituents and keep them informed! Learn the needs of your downtown businesses by communicating with them on a regular basis. React with appropriate projects. Publish a newsletter to keep primary stakeholders and...
WEDC accepting applications for Entrepreneurship Support Program

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

MADISON, WI. SEPT. 26, 2018 – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is now accepting applications from nonprofit and community-based organizations for a grant program designed to advance the statewide climate for entrepreneurship. The Entrepreneurship Support Program provides financial assistance of between $10,000 and $100,000 for projects that promote entrepreneurship and provide Wisconsin entrepreneurs with key resources, including training, mentorship, and business development and financial services. Launched in 2016, the initiative has provided nearly $1 million in grants to 17 organizations statewide to help fund activities such as prototyping assistance, legal services, and outreach to underserved entrepreneurs. Those grants have enabled organizations to...
How a Local Entrepreneur Used Grit and Perseverance to Build a Thriving Business

Thursday, November 01, 2018

PaperWorx Design & Printing is a thriving business located in Polk County. Sixteen years ago, owner, Sally, decided to pursue her dream of owning her own business. She has built PaperWorx Design & Printing from the ground up, turning an idea into an established graphic design, marketing, copy shop and printing company. They can take a job from start to finish, beginning with the design work of creating a logo, business cards, brochures and folders, and then printing these materials so that business owners have everything they need to start a business or to operate one. They also print posters,...
Brian McAlpine Chose the Momentum West Region After Living in the East Coast and Colorado

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Brian McAlpine has a job that he loves. As a successful commercial insurance advisor, he works with businesses and property owners throughout the region, helping them solve some of their most pressing challenges. “I learn something new every day because I am constantly looking for new ways to help my customers,” Brian commented. For example, he was recently presented with a unique challenge. One of his customers was looking to sell their manufacturing company but the buyer wanted to make sure that the products were insured against defect or liability after the purchase was complete. Through his role at Bremer...
Health and Our Economy

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

There is a strong link between the physical health of a community’s population and its economic health.  This link has been studied frequently at a macro level involving countries and continents, but it is often overlooked at the local level.   Local businesses, however, are recognizing the importance of healthy workers and their families because it matters in terms of productivity and the potential pool of both employees and customers. Employees who are sick cannot come to work or, if they do report to their jobs, are less productive and might risk spreading a sickness.  Further, if adequate care is not provided...
We're Celebrating National Women's Business Month with Lynn West

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

October is National Women’s Business Month and in Polk County we are celebrating the contributions of local women business owners, including Lynn West, owner of MRL Manufacturing, Inc. (MRL). Located in Amery, MRL manufactures precision component products for Over-the-Road, Heavy Equipment, Recreational, Construction and Agricultural Industries. MRL Manufacturing started as an offshoot of a family manufacturing business and Lynn chose to locate it in Amery to take advantage of the local labor force. At the time of their incorporation in 1994, MRL was awarded an SBA Loan, Revolving Loan Funds through the DOD with the City of Amery and Tax Incentive...
Making a Difference for the Good

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

A few weeks ago, Luck High School seniors were told that one of their own alumni was contributing scholarships to any of the 2019 graduates who will be attending a technical college.  Dennis Frandsen, a successful businessman with Luck roots, said he made this gift because ‘it was the right thing to do.’  As a result, any of the 34 prospective Luck graduates may receive up to two years of technical college education for free. Most available scholarships that are awarded each year go to graduates who are the school’s top students and who plan on attending a 4-year college or...
Banker picks up college tuition for entire school class ... AGAIN!

Friday, September 14, 2018

The Luck Public Schools confirmed for KARE 11 that that Dennis Frandsen -- a self-made success who now has 35 branches of Frandsen Bank and Trust in communities across Minnesota and Wisconsin -- offered to pay for two years of technical college for all of Luck's 34 prospective graduates this year. Click here for the complete feature.
New housing available soon in Amery

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Amery Housing Authority broke ground on a much-awaited project. The first two structures of four rental units are currently being constructed by Berghammer Builders of Clayton. The units will be side-by-side duplexes located on the east side of Harrison Avenue. Amery Housing Authority director Terry Forrest said that city administration, as well as the Amery Economic Development Corporation (A.E.D.C.), had expressed there was a void needing to be filled in terms of certain types of housing in the city. “Professionals moving into Amery for work did not have many options for housing,” Forrest said. The new rentals offer a two bedroom or...
Is It Possible to Have It All?

Monday, August 27, 2018

There is something beautiful about knowing what you want your life to be like, knowing where you belong, and building a life with that level of confidence. That is something that Keri Uzpen had years ago, when she left Polk County to go to college at the University of Minnesota. While in college, she knew that she loved living and playing outdoors in this beautiful corner of Wisconsin. She knew that she wanted to raise a family in this community and that she would move home after graduating. This knowledge allowed her to tailor her degree for the local job...
BP Motorsports opens

Friday, August 24, 2018

It’s been a life long dream of Bobby Penders to run his own repair and service shop.  June 4 he opened BP Motorsports in Osceola, just south of the village center in the former Denny’s Auto. By month’s end, the shop was full of ATVs and dirt bikes. “The first couple weeks were kind of slow but its really starting to pick up,” he said in late June. After seven years working at a different repair shop, he recently resolved to build his own legacy. “I realized it was time,” he said. “I had already been doing a lot of this stuff on the...
The economies of every US state and DC, ranked from worst to best

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The US is a massive, complex economy, and so too are the component economies of the 50 states and Washington, DC, that make up the whole. Business Insider combined six measures of labor-market and general economic health for all the states and the District of Columbia. They are the unemployment rate, job growth, per-capita GDP, GDP growth, average weekly wages, and wage growth. By putting all those on a common scale and combining them, we came up with an overall score for each state's economy. 10. Wisconsin Wisconsin's April 2018 unemployment rate of 2.8% was tied for fifth-lowest among the states and DC, and its...
HOOKED ON A FEELING: UNIQUE EXPERIENCES HELP FILL WISCONSIN’S TALENT PIPELINE

Friday, August 17, 2018

By all measures economists use to assess the quality of life a place offers—job availability, cost of living, commute times, recreation, etc.—Wisconsin stacks up pretty well. Very well, in fact. Problem is, people don’t consult economists when choosing the best place to pursue their passions. As CEO of NEWaukee, I devote my professional life and much of my personal life to promoting Milwaukee and Wisconsin as a career and lifestyle destination. My pitch has very little to do with the metrics you find in national rankings of “best places to live” and everything to do with what it feels like...
Work and Live Where You Play: Polk County!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

For many decades, it has been a temptation for young adults to move away from their small town and experience the big city.  This tug of the ‘cities’ is real.  There are many things to do and see in metropolitan areas.  And, yes, there are a large number of jobs and careers that are dangled in front of people… jobs that may offer them a premium in terms of hourly wages or salary.  But ‘city-life’ is not necessarily the best way to experience life to its fullest. Many people are finding that smaller communities can offer more than cities in terms...
Workers are the new weapon as states go to extremes in the battle for business

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Forequarter restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin, has managed to pull off a rare feat. Not only has it has stayed in business for six years, it is also still routinely referred to as trendy. On a recent visit, people were already showing up for dinner by 5:00 p.m. on a weeknight. Business is good, said owner Jonny Hunter, but it could be so much better. “We’re not open as much as we want to,” he said. The restaurant is open only for dinner, and it is closed on Sundays. Hunter said he would love to do more, if only he could staff the...
The economies of every US state and DC, ranked from worst to best

Friday, July 27, 2018

The US is a massive, complex economy, and so too are the component economies of the 50 states and Washington, DC, that make up the whole. Business Insider combined six measures of labor-market and general economic health for all the states and the District of Columbia. They are the unemployment rate, job growth, per-capita GDP, GDP growth, average weekly wages, and wage growth. By putting all those on a common scale and combining them, we came up with an overall score for each state's economy. 10. Wisconsin Wisconsin's April 2018 unemployment rate of 2.8% was tied for fifth-lowest among the states and DC, and its...
HOOKED ON A FEELING: UNIQUE EXPERIENCES HELP FILL WISCONSIN’S TALENT PIPELINE

Thursday, July 26, 2018

By all measures economists use to assess the quality of life a place offers—job availability, cost of living, commute times, recreation, etc.—Wisconsin stacks up pretty well. Very well, in fact. Problem is, people don’t consult economists when choosing the best place to pursue their passions. As CEO of NEWaukee, I devote my professional life and much of my personal life to promoting Milwaukee and Wisconsin as a career and lifestyle destination. My pitch has very little to do with the metrics you find in national rankings of “best places to live” and everything to do with what it feels like...
WEDC, UW-Eau Claire launch marketing campaign to encourage out-of-state alumni to ‘come home’

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

WEDC, UW-Eau Claire launch marketing campaign to encourage out-of-state alumni to ‘come home’ UW-Eau Claire is one of nine higher-education institutions joining  state’s first-ever campaign featuring graduates who have chosen Wisconsin as their career destination Eau Claire, WI.  — The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire today unveiled a new marketing campaign aimed at encouraging alumni of Wisconsin colleges and universities to pursue their personal and professional goals in Wisconsin. The campaign includes social media ads that link to videos featuring the perspectives of young people who have studied in Wisconsin and landed their dream jobs here, either right...
Community Club honors volunteers, businesses at banquet

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Amery Community Club held its seventh annual Past President’s Dinner and Community Business Awards Banquet Friday, May 11 at Cricket’s Banquet Center. A total of 86 nominees were honored with awards in 10 categories. Businesses marking milestone anniversaries were honored as well: Williamson-White Funeral Home - 130 years City of Amery - 125 years Bremer Bank - 100 years Northwest Communications - 120 years Lake Wapogasset Lutheran Bible Camp - 70 years Continue to full article
Entrepreneurs, Risk-Takers, and Leaders

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Americans, in general, are not afraid to take a risk.  Beginning with, for example, the adventurers and pilgrims who sailed the Atlantic Ocean hundreds of years ago to begin a life in what they called the ‘New World.’  They left their previous way of life and most of their belongings to take a chance on a dream.  Their urge to explore, expand west, and to create something better is a trait that has passed through generations and still exists throughout America in the form of entrepreneurs…people who risk their money, time, and heart to start a new business. As I tour...