March 2017
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Dear Community Members,

The winds of change are in the air. From February 14-16, 2017, there were more than 125 business and community leaders who met with the WISE consultants to discuss our workforce challenges and opportunities. Click here to view the WISE Presentation that was given at Western Technical College on February 27th. We have also received some great media coverage about our project. Click here to view our NEWS 8 interview.

Effective WISE planning also involves a look at challenges and opportunities with public policy.  We are pleased to partner with LADCO, Downtown Mainstreet La Crosse, and Explore La Crosse to host an Insider Briefing with Jeff Mayers, President of WISPolitics on March 15th. Jeff will provide a non-partisan update on state and federal legislative issues and concerns.  We invite you to join us at this informative lunch meeting. Click here to register to attend.

The winds of change are also reflected in our new board members. Kevin Finke, Nick Passe, and Tony Chladek have been elected to the Board of Directors. Read below about these dynamic leaders.  We are delighted to have them join the Board of Directors.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.



Lisa Herr


The WISE Project is in full implementation.  On March 7-9th we held meetings of the Talent Preparation, Recruitment and Retention Workgroups.  During these meetings, we analyzed the emerging themes from the 14 meetings held on February 14-16, 2017 with 126 business and community leaders. Participants began drafting priority areas of focus for the WISE Plan. 

Next, we will hold three ½ day summits to address the three major barriers to sustained employment. 

March 21st, Access to Quality Childcare, 12:00 to 3:00 PM The Parenting Place - 1500 Green Bay St., La Crosse, WI 

March 22nd, Connecting Regional Transportation, 8:30 to 11:30 AM, La Crosse County Administration Building - 212 6th St. N., La Crosse, WI 

March 23rd, Affordable Workforce Housing,12:00 to 3:00 PM, Habitat for Humanity - 3181 Berlin Dr., Onalaska, WI


Mark your calendar and plan to join us to plan solutions to address these regional challenges:

Please RSVP to Chin-Chin Minniear,

Jeff Mayers, President of Wis. Politics, will be providing an update on emerging state and federal legislation issues and politics. The schedule for the event will be:

   11:00 AM- 11:30 AM: Sign in and networking 
   11:30 AM: Lunch is served
   12:00 PM -1:00 PM: Presentation by Jeff Mayers
Register Now!
This meeting will be filled with important information and relevant materials including a presentation from StateBook, an update on The WISE Plan, an overview of the 2017 Business Survey, and time for partner sharing and discussion.  

To learn a little more about Statebook, CLICK HERE to watch a short informative video about the company.  

If you have any questions please email Emily at

See you on March 31st!
The 7 Rivers Alliance is pleased to announce three new board members Kevin Finke, Tony Chladek, and Nick Passe. The 7 Rivers Alliance is dedicated maintaining a board of directors that is representative of the 7 Rivers Region. The knowledge all three exceptional candidates will be an incredible addition to the Board of Directors. 

Kevin Finke, Assistant Vice President and Commercial Banker at Merchants Bank in Winona, has been in the banking industry for seven. He values making a difference for businesses in the community and surrounding areas. Kevin believes that making these differences through economic development is a great way for organizations to expand their potential. 

Tony Chladek, City Administrator for City of Rushford, has been working in local government for the past 19 years.  Throughout his career, Tony has learned to focus his time on organizations that value the community he lives in and shares his passion of strengthening his region for the years to come. 

Nick Passe, Attorney for Passe Law Office LLC, is actively involved with community matters and has a passion for bringing a legal skill set to The 7 Rivers Alliance board of directors.  He is dedicated to advancing the seven rivers region for the future generations.
Image result for area development logo
Closing the skills gap: Creating workforce-development programs that work for everyone

"The land of opportunity”—that is the promise of the United States. And one of the reasons the country has been able to deliver on that promise is that it has been able to develop the talent it needs to create wealth and to adapt to ever-changing economic realities. But there are concerns that the United States can and should be doing better. To read the rest, click on the link below.
WEDC awards $700,000 in grants to support local efforts to provide seed funding for startups

Three economic development organizations have been awarded a total of $700,000 in matching grants from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to be used to provide seed funding for technology-based startups and early-stage companies. To read more click on the link below.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach- 4H Youth Development 

FFI 4-H members Macie Weigand from MFL MarMac and Kaci Rausch from Turkey Valley recently attended the National 4-H Healthy Living Summit in Washington, DC. They presented a futuristic newspaper heading declaring that "All communities in NE Iowa are food secure!"

They used this approach to identify activities that they could lead in their communities to make that headline come true using their passions. As a FEEST intern, Macie wants to see more cooking classes. As a Farm to School cross-age teacher, Kaci wants to see more education at farmers markets. The next step for these young leaders is get to work by connecting with partners to create a plan for their projects.
Why Resy is one of the most innovative companies of 2017

Resy uses technology to enhance the restaurant experience. Eaters book via a slick reservations app, and restaurateurs use Resy software to reduce no-shows and help staff deliver personalized service. Last year, that combo helped the startup reach 1 million registered users and colonize 1,000 restaurants across 50 cities, each paying up to $899 a month for a subscription.  To read more, click on the link below.

Western Technical College Presents: Where technology is going and how it affects your business

Tom Still will discuss the advanced industry jobs that are swiftly changing our economy and how we work. He will also inform the attendees about the various state initiatives which are affecting businesses in our area and the state of Wisconsin. Join us as we explore where we are going and what you should know that could affect your business. To register or learn more about the event please email Emily at  

Diversity Rising:

Promoting entrepreneurs of color and retaining professionals of color

With his genial grin and wrestler’s build, Alex Rodriguez is a familiar face and form at events that connect professionals of color.

As he turns 23 this month, the local A-Rod, as he is sometimes called, is a power-hitter on the startup scene.

An Entrepreneur-in-Residence selected by Google, Rodriguez works out of the COCO co-working space in downtown Minneapolis, where he heads a team of three who run WorkMand, his technology startup that serves contractors. He also leads a five-person group building Graveti, an organization he founded to connect and champion African American and Latino entrepreneurs. To read more click on the link below.

                                CLICK HERE 

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