7 Rivers Alliance - March 2016 e-Newsletter         
View this email in your browser

Dear Investors and Members,

During the past month, I have had the privilege to meet with many of you as I have traveled throughout the region.  Your consistent requests were that we need to focus on workforce issues and promoting the quality of life that appeals to prospective employees. 

I have learned that this is not a business, county or even a state concern.  It is a regional issue and must be approached with engaging numerous partners across all borders and boundaries. Many of our workers are travelling over an hour to work and crossing state lines.  The projected shortages over the next five years will be significant and affect all business sectors. 

We have been working with economic development partners to identify and promote best practices in developing and retaining workforce pipelines.  We are bringing them all together at our April 28th Human Capital event so that you can learn effective strategies that you can take and apply to your business and community.  We have Craig Cegielski, teacher and leader of the Cardinal Manufacturing Program at Eleva-Strum High School, a nationally recognized high school manufacturing program. Craig was also the 2014 National Rural Educator of the year.  This program works directly for and with regional manufacturers and is a major talent pipeline to companies.  We will also be showcasing other best practices for connecting businesses to talent and organizations that can provide support for hiring diverse, older and veteran workers.  There will also be sessions on competitive business strategies to appeal to and retain workers.  Steve Cremer, CEO of Harmony Farms and Eric Hartwig, workplace services manager for Organic Valley will share information about their current and planned childcare facilities for employees.

Our Hire Them Keep Them project is fully operational and we are serving 10manufacturing and food processing companies throughout the region.  During  March and April, HR consultants are working with the participating companies on projects that will help them to effectively recruit and retain workers.  More details will be shared as the projects are completed and companies are profiled.  

We are dedicated to serving you and collaborating with other organizations to come up with innovative solutions to advancing the economy in the 7 Rivers Region.  Read below for more details about our exciting partnerships.


Lisa Herr
Executive Director

Register Now for the next 7 Rivers Alliance Event: "Human Capital: Effective Strategies for Recruiting & Retaining A Rural Workforce" 

Join us on Thursday, April 28, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the TRI County Electric Community Building - 31110 Cooperative Way, Rushford, MN 55971. 
This is a must attend event for hiring executives and HR professionals.  Plan to attend and hear the latest research and hiring trends in the 7 Rivers Region. 

Click here to register. 

To view the presenters and discussion topics, click here. 
10 companies are being served by the Hire Them Keep Them Project. Dr. Karl Green from University of Wisconsin Extension is working with participating manufacturers and food processors to conduct an employee engagement survey.  This survey is funded by the grant and designed to help companies understand what it will take to keep their current workforce.

Creating Community Solar Gardens and Farms: A Great Success! 

Over 100 people participated in our March 1st event: Creating Community Solar Gardens and Farms. Businesses, municipalities, local officials, and students joined together to share best practices in planning photo-voltaic installations. Thank you to our sponsors: Dairyland Power Cooperative, Xcel Energy and Western Technical College for your support of this event.  We would also like to thank the dynamic speakers who made this day both educational and fun. 

If you were unable to attend or would like to review the presentations, click here
The next ECO DEVO meeting will be hosted by Monroe County.   At this meeting, we will discuss the rollout of the Google+ and Google Business Listing to help rural businesses improve their online presence and search engine optimization (SEO).   Steve Peterson will share new development projects planned for Monroe County.  Mark your calendar and plan to join us.

The 2016 Business Survey will be available on our website on April 4th, 2016.  We will send out the survey link for you to take 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.

The annual Iowa SMART Economic Development Conference to be held Thursday, April 28th in Des Moines, Iwoa starting at 8:00 am. SMART is Iowa's largest conference devoted to economic development. Now in its 31st year, the conference is co-sponsored by the investor-owned electric, natural gas and transmission utility companies of the Iowa Utility Association (IUA) and by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). The Iowa SMART Conference annually attracts approximately 500 economic development professionals, business leaders, chamber of commerce executives, community leaders, elected officials and other board members who influence economic development and public policy issues statewide and within their own communities. It includes general sessions, workshops and networking opportunities. Speakers and workshops throughout the day address topics critical to economic development including local government financing, workforce, migration, community improvement, marketing, entrepreneurialism, tourism and preparing a community for growth.  To register, click here! 
Welcome Jennifer Graham! 
Jennifer is joining our team as a Graphic Design intern. Jennifer will be providing graphic design support to other local economic development organizations as well as ours.  It is a good thing when we can share talent to support each other.

Want to build your professional portfolio? Need an internship? Join our team!

The 7 Rivers Alliance is seeking part time marketing/communications interns. Click here to download a job description.

Like, follow, and link with us!

Want to stay updated on the latest events? Click the links below to connect!

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter. 
Connect with us on LinkedIn. 
On April 2, 2016, Women Moving Ahead 2016 will take place at the Lunda Center on the Western Technical College campus. The WMA planning committee has worked hard to make this year’s Women Moving Ahead event of interest to women of all ages. The sessions will offer practical information and numerous networking opportunities. And the cost to attend has been kept very reasonable with scholarships being offered to those with challenging financial situations.

Click here to register now! Scholarships are available to cover the cost of attending Women Moving Ahead 2016.

Click here to download a flyer to help spread the word. 


WEDC Launches Made In Wisconsin Program 

Companies operating in Wisconsin now have a new tool—an official “Made In Wisconsin” logo—to help market the origin and quality of their products, thanks to a new program from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
The Made In Wisconsin logo can be adapted to reflect applicants’ production processes. Options include Made In Wisconsin, Manufactured In Wisconsin, Produced In Wisconsin and many others. 

There is no cost to use the logo. Companies that wish to participate fill out a simple application stating how they will use the logo and certifying that the product or service on which they seek to use the mark fulfills program requirements. Once an application is approved, the company can download high-resolution image files for the specified use.
For more information, visit
Minnesota is one of 10 states that will take part in SNAP to Skills, a first-of-its-kind national effort to help states design improved employment and training programs for adults participating in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The program will be administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). 

More information is available in a  news release on the USDA website 

In recent media, millions of people around the Midwest will see and hear advertising messages inspiring them to consider Iowa as a travel destination. The effort is part of the Iowa Tourism Office’s annual spring and summer marketing campaign that places about $1.5 million worth of television, digital and print advertising in markets that surround Iowa.

More than 176 million people are expected to see the ads that are placed in a diversity of media, including,,, The Today Show and Spotify, among others. The ads are intended to inspire women, as Iowa Tourism Office research also shows that more than 74 percent of travel planners are female. Social media and media relations efforts will leverage the paid advertising.

The TV ads, which will air in Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Omaha, can be viewed on

Tourism in Iowa generates more than $8.06 billion in expenditures, employs 66,500 people statewide and generates $374 million in state taxes. The Iowa Tourism Office is part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. 

Wisconsin had a strong 2015 for deal flow successes, with more than $231 million invested in 120 deals across numerous industries and stages of company development. The year’s investments marked a 67 percent increase over 2014 and indicate that the state’s efforts to bolster the startup and early-stage ecosystem are beginning to show results. 

Read the full Wisconsin Deal Flow Report

The Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) is a grant program created by the USDA to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets.

All applicants under FMPP must be domestic entities owned, operated, and located within the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to be considered eligible. Entities that are eligible to apply include agricultural businesses, economic development corporations, local governments and many others. 

Click here to learn more.

Fresh Food Options for Your Community!

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

Click here to register. 
Crawford County is searching for an Executive Director for the Crawford County Economic Development Corporation. This is a full-time, permanent position based in Prairie du Chien with a competitive salary and benefits package.
Applications will be accepted through April 1st, 2016. Contact Will Cronin, Community Resource Development Educator, at for more information. 

‘Wisconsin YES!’ Student Business Plan Contest Open for Middle and High School Entries through April 4th

Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs in Science, a statewide youth business plan contest modeled after the successful Governor’s Business Plan Contest, is open for online entries from Wisconsin middle- and high-school students through 5 p.m. April 4, 2016

Public, private and home-schooled students across Wisconsin are eligible to turn their science- and tech-related ideas into business plans and compete for cash and prizes. The contest begins with a 250-word summary submitted through

NEW Ag, Food and Beverage Export Tech Coming in July 2016!

The 7 Rivers Alliance is partnering with UW Stout, The Department of Agriculture, Trade,Commerce  and the WEDC to coordinate and offer a special Export Tech program for food manufacturers and the event will be hosted by Organic Valley at their new Cashton, Wi facility on 7/20, 8/23 & 9/27, 2016. 

Space will be limited.  If you are an ag, food and/or beverage company seeking assistance with entering new foreign markets then you will want to secure your seat at this event. More details and sign up will be available in our April 2016 newsletter
Did you know... 
  • There are 28 million small businesses just in the U.S. alone! They outnumber corporations by 1162 to 1.
  • 70% of all small businesses are owned and operated by a single person!
  • It takes just 6 days to start a business in the US, compared to a whopping 38 days in China!
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
Email: Info

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences