7 Rivers Alliance - May 2016 e-Newsletter

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Dear Business and Community Leaders:

There is a saying, “a failure to plan is a plan to fail.”  Planning is an essential part of economic and community development. Yet, for many regions, planning has been absent. Last month, I had the privilege of participating in the fifth America’s Competitiveness Exchange and visited 10 US cities in seven days.  It was very inspiring to learn how other communities are envisioning their future.  I came back with numerous ideas for advancing our region.  I was also motivated to think about the types of planning that we need to undertake in the 7 Rivers Region.

What do we want this region to look like 10 to 20 years from now?   What legacy do we want to leave for the next generation?  We have wonderful assets and great community leaders.  We have vibrant business sectors and an amazing quality of life.  Can we sustain all of this without a plan? Probably not. One of the most important plans that we need to develop is a regional plan for talent attraction and retention.  This was confirmed last week at our Human Capital event that was held on April 28th in Rushford, Minnesota.  A full room of HR staff, community organizations, workforce board directors, higher education and economic development agencies spent the day exploring best practices for recruiting and retaining workers.  It was great to have strong participation from key stakeholders. 

We also need to plan for quality of life.  Next week, we will host our In the Bag: Grocery Alternatives for Rural Communities regional discussion in Juneau County. This event is designed for communities that have lost their grocery and/or have limited fresh food options.  We encourage you to join grocery executives to explore options for your community.  On June 1st, we will offer a Rural Workforce Housing Summit in Sparta, Wisconsin for business and community leaders to meet with financial institutions and builders to discuss development options for their area and learn best practices.   On June 9th, we will offer a Business and Community Wellness Summit in Decorah, Iowa.  Leaders will learn how other communities are implementing strategies to enhance their open spaces and creating a sense of space for residents.  Each of these events have dynamic and informative speakers and we invite you to join us.

Each of these event provides information and best practices that will be basis for creating long range plans for our region. Over the summer, we will share details about planning that will start in July 2016 and ask that you share your expertise and ideas during the planning process. 

Let’s plan together to ensure The 7 Rivers Region continues to thrive for years to come.

Lisa Herr
Executive Director

Last Chance to Register... 
Click Here to Register for In the Bag!


Is your community in need of fresh food options? 

This event is designed for rural community leaders who are seeking to provide grocery options to their residents. Join us to learn about best practices for sustaining rural grocery alternatives and strategies to effectively provide rural communities quality food.

Topics include: 
  • What it takes to get a good grocery store
  • Grocery store site selection
  • Future trends in the grocery industry
  • Alternate grocery options
  • Food coops and farmers markets
  • Community action planning 
  • State and federal resources
  • Private foundations and trusts 
Click here to register. 
Rural Workforce Housing Summit on June 1st 

This event brings together all the funding sources and information needed for launching successful workforce housing projects in rural communities. Plan to attend, share information and learn from others.
Who should attend: 

  • Employers seeking housing options for their workforce
  • Commercial developers looking for new opportunities 
  • City County officials and economic development professionals exploring housing options
Click here to register for the Rural Housing Summit
Join us on June 9th for the Business & Community Wellness Summit  

The 2016 Business and Community Wellness Summit brings together corporate and community best practices for increasing the health and wellness of workers and their families. Strategies, policies and programs for improving wellness will be provided by leading communities. Learn how to work with healthcare and insurance providers to access services that benefit employees and the community.
Click here to register for the 2016 Business & Community Wellness Summit!

ExporTech™: Feeding the World

July 20, August 23, and September 27


All Sessions will be held at Organic Valley
509 Organic Drive, Cashton, WI  54619

A specialized ExporTech for manufacturers in the food, beverage and agriculture industries. Three-day series will target topics including specific food laws, food labeling, market potential, sales and distribution channels, logistics, state and federal resources, and operationalizing your international plan. Dennis Lynch, a 33-year veteran of international trade, distinguished instructor, and adviser to a variety of food and agricultural firms, will be a primary presenter. Program is supported by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. 

Click here to register and learn more. 
Human Capital Event A Big Success!
Our Human Capital event hosted over 20 best practice presenters from throughout the region.  We received a number of inquiries from those who missed the event and would like to review the presentations click here.  to access the presenter slides.

Thank you to all those in attendance and to all of our sponsors for making the Human Capital Event a great success! Each presenter offered a unique and valuable perspective on the best strategies for recruiting and retaining high skilled talent.
5th ACE Exchange - The trip of a lifetime! 

The 7 Rivers Alliance Executive Director Lisa Herr was one of 51 participants from 24 countries who toured 30+ innovation and technology hubs in 10 cities of the U.S. States of Arizona and California. 

The Americas Competitiveness Exchanges on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ACE) are design to build networks around the Hemisphere, and the world to create better Innovation & Entrepreneurship Ecosystems. The ACEs create unique opportunities among high-level officials from the public, private and academic sector to advance commerce, accelerate business opportunities, and promote collaboration for all stake holders.

Here are a few photos of Herr with other innovative leaders:
Put Your Business On Google Search and Maps


People are searching online for businesses like yours every day.  Make sure they can find and connect with you by adding your business information to Google Search and Maps. It's easy and free! 

When: May 18th at 3:30pm
Where: Cranberry Country Lodge 
How Much: Free 
Learn More: 

Click Here to register 

The 2016 Business Survey is now available on our websitePlease take the survey and share with other businesses.  Our goal is to reach 200 companies and organizations. The collected information will be used to plan future programs and advocate for policies that advance business growth and improve the vitality of our communities.

This year, we have streamlined the survey and added sector specific questions for manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, retail and financial services.  The information collected from the survey will be collected, analyzed by county and presented at our annual State of the Region event in November 2016.

Take the survey now! 

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The Work That Can’t Be Offshored or Automated

If you ask the man or woman on the street what he or she considers the “hot” new jobs of the future, chances are they’ll bring up some sexy-sounding tech sector job—you know, developing new iPhone apps, analyzing Google data, programming cool new gadgetry.  But what’s “hot” to economists is what the market reveals as “hot” in terms of supply and demand.  Viewed through that lens, a new analysis of labor shortages by my colleagues at The Conference Board (TCB), Help Wanted: What Looming Labor Shortages Mean for Your Business, finds results that may surprise you.

Read the full article

The Legacy of Knowledge: How
manufacturers are pairing up Boomers and Millennials as mentors and proteges

As Boomers reach their retirement years, manufacturers are trying to make sure they pass along their accumulated wisdom to the incoming Millennial workers. While the younger generation may excel in certain technical skills and what they have learned in  school, they have  much to learn in terms of the practical skills that are only acquired through years of experience. 

Click here to read the full article. 

Why Innovative Companies Like Google Are Letting Employees Craft Their Own Jobs

More employees are mapping out ways to make their jobs more meaningful, and it's making them happier and more effective. Creative ideas come from "putting new things in old combinations and old things in new combinations," according to organizational theorist Karl Weick. The concept of job crafting comes from that exact definition: If you take parts of your work and reconfigure it, you’ll end up with a more meaningful job to better suit your talent and interests.

Click here to read the full story. 

Pathways to Prosperity Opens Doors for 900 Low-Income Minnesotans

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has approved grants totaling $2.55 million for 27 projects that will create greater opportunity for nearly 900 Minnesotans to pursue careers with family-sustaining wages. 

The funding was awarded under DEED’s Pathways to Prosperity program, which focuses on helping low-wage and low-skill adults who have multiple barriers to employment obtain credentials and skills that will prepare them for jobs in growing fields. Each grant recipient represents a partnership of Adult Basic Education (ABE), community-based organizations, MnSCU and higher education institutions, and business around the state. 

To learn more,
click here.

Wisconsin’s Downtowns on Display at National Main Street Conference

More than 2,000 people from downtown development organizations and local governments will assemble in Milwaukee this spring foMain Street Now 2016, the annual conference of the National Main Street Center.
“This is a chance for us to show off what’s happening in Wisconsin’s downtowns,” says Darrin Wasniewski, downtown development program manager at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

This is the second time the national Main Street conference has been held in Milwaukee. In 1993, it was still called the National Town Meeting, and constituted a significantly smaller crowd of 400.

Learn more

Iowa Celebrates $8 Billion Tourism Industry During National Travel and Tourism Week
 May 1-7 marks the 33rd annual National Travel and Tourism Week, which celebrates what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being.

The dollars spent on travel in Iowa not only contribute to the state’s economic health but are an important part of travel’s economic impact nationwide. For example:
  • Travel is a $2.1 trillion industry in the U.S., with $927.9 billion in direct travel-related spending in the U.S. by domestic and international visitors in 2014.
  • These visitors support 15 million American jobs—roughly eight million direct travel jobs and seven million indirect and induced jobs.
  • Travel-related spending generated $141.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues in 2014.
Read the full story  here. 
Copyright © 2015. 7 Rivers Alliance. All rights reserved.

Mailing address:
601 Seventh Street North
Suite 400
La Crosse, WI 54601

Contact Us:
Phone: 608-787-8777
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