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USDA Led Forum Works to Create a Blueprint for Job Creation in Wisconsin

Feb 21, 2017

Nearly 80 people gathered at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, Wis. to participate in the Forum for the Future . . . Pathways to Wisconsin Job Creation event.

The job forum, co-hosted by USDA Rural Development, Chippewa Valley Technical College and USDA Farm Service Agency, primarily focused on generating ideas and creating a blueprint to help initiate job growth in Wisconsin.

Panelists and attendees, together, explored ways to rejuvenate and promote local businesses; creating jobs by rebuilding  and improving infrastructure; supporting job growth among small businesses; preparing workers for today’s job market; and the sustainability of Wisconsin jobs, specifically in the energy sector.

“USDA Rural Development is committed to facilitating sustainable job growth in Wisconsin with partners like Chippewa Valley Technical College; and with all the wonderful ideas produced by this forum, I believe we’re off to a good start,” said Stan Gruszynski, USDA Rural Development State Director.  “The Federal Government is working diligently to create jobs and having input from community leaders is vital to the proceeding steps we take.”

Panelists at the Wisconsin job forum Include:

Stan Gruszynski, State Director, USDA Rural Development as the Moderator; Bruce Barker, President, Chippewa Valley Technical College; Brad Pfaff, State Director, Farm Service Agency; Steve Blodgett, District Director, WI Department of Workforce Development; Tom Lyon, Senior Policy Advisor, WI Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection; Greg Nycz, Executive Director, Family Health Center of Marshfield, Inc.; Mary Patoka, Executive Director, CAP Services; John Rosenow, Wisconsin Dairyman and Small Business Owner; Scott Schultz, Executive Director, Wisconsin Farmers Union; Mike Stifter, Director of Facilities, UW River Falls Sustainability Institute; and Rick Terrien, Executive Director, Iowa County Economic Development Corporation.

Attendees of the job forum, from feedback gathered almost unanimously, agreed that the event was informational and will ultimately help to generate a focus on future job creation for the state of Wisconsin. Numerous positive comments, ideas, and suggestions were received.

Critical elements for Wisconsin’s rural economy and job market, according to the attendees are; next generation interest and retention in rural areas and in agriculture, taking advantage of new technologies, better paying jobs, increased education and training, and knowledge of financial resources offered by local, state and federal agencies.  Additional concerns include access to needed healthcare and the availability of credit lending to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The recommendations and information from the forum will be compiled into a formal report and submitted to the White House; as well as sent to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Wisconsin Congressional and Senatorial Representatives, and attendees.

Job forum Wisonsin
Stan Gruszynski, USDA Rural Development State Director, addresses the attendees at the job forum held at Chippewa Valley Technical College Gateway Campus in Eau Claire Tuesday.

Job forum Wisconsin
Tom Lyon, left, Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection, speaks with Bruce Barker and Diane Pavelski of Chippewa Valley Technical College before the job forum started Tuesday morning.

Submitted by: Kelly Edwards, Wisconsin Public Information Coordinator, USDA Rural Development

To view a recording of the Eau Claire jobs forum go to:

To learn more, go to the Rural Development and FSA Job Roundtables Schedule, and the News Release, “USDA to Host Roundtables on Jobs, Economic Growth

Category/Topic: USDA Results Rural

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