Michelle Waldinger is one of many now facing the unenviable task of trying to recruit workers to Door County. It’s unenviable for the director of human resources at Marine Travelift not because she can’t offer good wages or a good career, but because of the growing challenges in finding housing and child care.
“I can’t tell people to relocate their entire family here and basically hand them an empty platter because they have no place to go for their children,” she said. Instead, her relocation packages include Kewaunee and Brown County, where many of her new workers end up living.
Waldinger summed up her challenge during a roundtable discussion with representatives from Gov. Tony Evers’ administration at the Door County Community Foundation on April 24.
Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, was in attendance with other officials during the 12th roundtable to hear from local leaders and recipients of nearly $60 million in grants to support workforce and child care development. The United Way received a $3.5 million workforce innovation grant in December to support housing, child care and workforce-development projects across the county.
“We wanted to go back and talk with the groups about how it’s going,” Hughes said. “Is there anything we can do to support you, and understand exactly what’s happening with your grant. We’ve been able to make connections with one grant and another grant.”
[Adapted from: An Empty Platter: Roundtable exposes growing child care and housing gap for workforce recruitment Apr. 6, 2022, Door County Pulse]