The ability of business to finance capital investments is a critical part of our economy.

How much you will pay in interest will depend on your credit worthiness and on the Federal Reserve System, which sets monetary policy in our country through the Federal Funds Target Rate. 

You have a unique opportunity to ask questions of a member of the Federal Open Market Committee on Nov. 13 at the 7 Rivers Alliance State of the Region meeting at UW-La Crosse. Neel Kashkari, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, will hold a town hall meeting as the keynote speaker at our event.

During the business portion of the meeting, we will also announce the winner of the Lee Rasch Community Partnership award, present the results of the annual executive survey and update participants on our workforce development plan.

Kashkari will speak from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in a forum moderated by UW-L professor T.J. Books, chairman of the economics department. The event is co-sponsored by UW-La Crosse and the La Crosse Area Development Corp. and other local businesses.

Tickets for the event -- which begins at 11 a.m. with registration and lunch in the Bluffs meeting room at UW-L’s student union -- are $30 for members and $35 for non-members. You can also become a business sponsor and receive recognition before and after the event by purchasing a table of eight for $500.

There will be no charge to attend the Kashkari presentation without lunch. To register for the event, go to link.

The Federal Open Market Committee just met on Oct. 30 and announced that it would cut interest rates for the third time this year. The federal funds rate was reduced by a quarter of a percentage point to a target range of between 1.5% and 1.75%.

The U.S. Prime Interest Rate, which is the foundation from which credit is extended, is normally 3 points higher than the FFTR, which puts it at 4.75%.
President Donald Trump has been critical of the Federal Reserve System, wanting it to cut interest rates much earlier. 

The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States. Congress created the Federal Reserve through a law passed in 1913, charging it with a responsibility to foster a sound banking system and a healthy economy. This broad mission remains today for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and the 11 other Federal Reserve Banks, each serving a specific region of the country.

The Minneapolis Fed, with one branch in Helena, Montana, serves six states of the Ninth Federal Reserve District: Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, 26 counties in northwestern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Other parts of the 7 Rivers Region are served by the Chicago Fed.

Fed presidents are traditionally tight-lipped, but Kashkari has been committed to increasing transparency at the Fed since taking over in 2016. He publishes editorials in national newspapers and is active on social media. 

In this role, he serves on the Federal Open Market Committee, bringing the Ninth District’s perspective to monetary policy discussions in Washington, D.C. In addition to his responsibilities as a monetary policymaker, Kashkari oversees all operations of the bank, including supervision and regulation, treasury services and payments services. 

From 2006 to 2009, Kashkari served in several senior positions at the U.S. Department of the Treasury -- a turbulent time in our nation’s history as the housing crash lead to the Great Recession. 

In 2008, he was confirmed as assistant secretary of the Treasury. In this role, he oversaw the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) during the financial crisis. Kashkari received the Alexander Hamilton Award, the Treasury Department’s highest honor for distinguished service.

Join us on Nov. 13 and hear what Kashkari has to say. It’s a great opportunity for the 7 Rivers Region.
The event will be featuring a special town hall meeting with Minneapolis Federal Reserve Chair Neel Kashkari.

About this Event

The event will be from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Union, 521 East Ave. N., in the Bluffs meeting room. Lunch will be served.

The meeting will include an update on the 7 Rivers Alliance Workforce Development Plan, results of the annual executive survey and the winner of the Lee Rasch Community Service Award.

Kashkari is the head of the Federal Reserve’s Ninth District, a region that stretches from northwestern Wisconsin and Michigan’s U.P. west to Montana (and includes all of Minnesota and the Dakotas).

Kashkari sits on the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC, where the Fed decides interest rates and other monetary policy). He will take questions from the audience.

Tickets Here

Freight Stakeholders

The registration websites for the two Intermodal Summits are both active:

Freight Advisory Committee Members

It is crucial your constituent companies and other contacts are aware of these Summits, so they have the opportunity to attend and hear what commitments are needed to demonstrate the viability of new intermodal options in Wisconsin.  In spring 2017 the FAC voted the development of an intermodal strategy for Wisconsin as the most important new policy in the State Freight Plan.  The creation of the Intermodal Subcommittee, and the release of its report in spring 2019, showed WisDOT was following through on that policy.  Now, these Summits are regional economic development groups’ efforts to examine the best next steps. 

If you would like to provide support for either of these events, please contact:

Additional information about intermodal shipping, including the Intermodal Subcommittee’s final report, is available at []

Please send any questions to

Veterans have the character, discipline and skills needed to
succeed as small business owners and entrepreneurs.
Wondering what it takes and how you can prepare? Enroll in
Boots to Business Reboot.
To register, go to
November 8.

Boots to Business Reboot is an entrepreneurial education and
training program offered by the U.S. Small Business
Administration (SBA). The course provides an overview of
entrepreneurship and applicable business ownership
fundamentals. Veterans of all eras, Active Duty Service
members (including National Guard and Reserve), and spouses
are eligible to participate.

During Reboot, participants are introduced to the skills,
knowledge, and resources they need to launch a business,
including steps for developing business concepts, how to
develop a business plan, and information on SBA resources
available to help. The program is facilitated by subject matter
experts from the SBA and their extensive network of skilled
business advisors.

Participants that complete an in-person B2B Reboot course
can elect to further their study through one of many B2B online
courses, offered at no cost to Service members, Veterans and
military spouses. If you’ve already attended an in-person B2B
course, visit here to sign up for one of the online B2B follow-on courses.
The Inspire 7 Rivers team has taken initiative to grow its network of employers and students. Inspire is a way to link together education and industry to help students and job seekers achieve their goals and address communities’ workforce development needs. Inspire 7 Rivers has launched in school districts throughout the region and will be active in all Wisconsin districts in the region by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year. 

Our team continues to communicate about the benefits of the program to local organizations.
If you or any employer is interested in learning more please email Chris:

Hello La Crosse County businesses, nonprofits, and government agency leaders!

Late last year, a group of organizations came together and applied for a new designation being offered for our area called the Wisconsin Healthy Communities Designation. The designation was developed by the Population Health Institute of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health (, and this was its inaugural year.  The designation is available at the Bronze, Silver, and Gold levels based on health-promoting efforts taking place throughout the community.  Because of all the good work being done in our region to improve the health of our community, La Crosse County was awarded Gold status for the next three years (through 2021)! We were one of only four counties in the state to receive the Gold designation.


Here are some of the efforts that helped us achieve this honor: Coulee Region Farm2School program, Strong Seniors exercise program, community-based Drug Disposal Program, Complete Streets policies, Behavioral Health integration into Primary Care at our healthcare institutions, the Health Science Academy serving area high schools, the Housing First approach of the La Crosse Collaborative to End Homelessness, the Community Policing Program that supports Neighborhood Resource Officers, the Great Rivers Hub, and Western Technical College’s Project Proven.

As part of this designation, we received a logo (attached) that could be used for all marketing and promotion materials that promote that La Crosse County is a Wisconsin Healthy Community. We’d like to share this logo with you and encourage you to use it to:

  • Promote our healthy community
  • Advertise your business or nonprofit
  • Attract employees and customers
  • Pursue donations and investments
  • Increase sales and engagement
  • Build partnerships
  • Apply for grants
  • Engage your consumers, students, patients, clients, and collaborators.

In addition to the logo, you may also use the terms “Wisconsin Healthy Community – Gold,” or a variation of this, on any of your materials that promote La Crosse County or any of its municipalities or communities.

The attached logo is in several formats for use in print materials, on websites, in email signatures, on billboards, on signs or stickers, in advertising, and on social media. The designation is valid through the end of 2021, and we will likely pursue a renewal at that time.  You are free to use it on all of your materials at no cost.  We encourage you to use it widely and frequently. Please share it with others in your networks who promote La Crosse County. 

Thank you for all you do for the people of this region, and thank you for helping us be a Wisconsin Healthy Community!

If you have any questions about the designation or use of the logo, please contact Catherine at 608-785-5151.



Your WHCD nomination team:

WEDC Recognized for Achievement in Economic Development

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has been named the recipient of the Excellence in Economic Development Award from the German American Chambers of Commerce (GACC).

The GACCs’ German American Business Awards honor excellence in the German-American business community in the fields of innovation, services and economic development. The awards constitute the highest accolades in transatlantic business and showcase the continued strength of German-American trade. The awards ceremony was held at the Chicago History Museum on Oct. 11.

“Our vision statement says that by leveraging talented professionals and strategic partnerships, WEDC aspires to be a leading and widely respected state economic development organization,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “Receiving this award for excellence in economic development gets us closer to that vision, and it serves as a testament to all of the hard-working Wisconsin professionals and businesses who maintain strong connections with Germany.”

The economies of Germany and Wisconsin are closely intertwined, with mutual strength in manufacturing and a shared emphasis on quality, productivity and a strong work ethic. In 2018, Wisconsin exported $814 million worth of goods and services to Germany, making it the fourth-leading export destination for the state. WEDC also led a global trade venture to Germany in June of last year, and will offer another in June 2020.

Read Full Story

Minnesota Labor Market Tightens

State unemployment rate dropped another tenth-percent to 3.2%

Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped one-tenth percent to 3.2% in September, according to numbers released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). That’s down from 3.3% in August and 3.4% in July. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.5% in September.

Despite the continued tight labor market, job growth is slowing in the state. Minnesota gained 100 jobs in September according to seasonally adjusted figures. August’s job gains where revised downward from 1,100 jobs to 400 jobs gained. Annual job gains in September slipped to 4,989 or 0.2%.

Over the month, six major industry sectors lost jobs. Education and health care saw the largest decline (down 2,400), followed by professional and business services (down 900), information (down 800), other services (down 500), government (down 400) and construction (down 300).

Trade, transportation and utilities had the largest over-the-month gains (up 2,700) followed by financial activities (up 1,300), manufacturing (up 700) and leisure and hospitality (up 700).

Visit the DEED website to see DEED’s alternative measures of unemployment.


Read Full Story 



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