WEDC award supports efforts to promote Wisconsin as a great place for young professionals to work and live

MADISON, WI. April 18, 2016 – The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is teaming up with young professional organizations throughout the state on an initiative aimed at attracting and retaining young talent in Wisconsin.

“Companies across the globe are quickly realizing that demographic trends and innovation in manufacturing and product development have shifted corporate location strategies to increasingly focus on talent pipelines and workforce availability,” explains Tricia Braun, WEDC deputy secretary and chief operating officer. “Keeping the quality workforce that we’ve grown here in Wisconsin, as well as attracting workers from outside of the state, is vital for the future of our businesses and communities. As Klaus Schwab of Manpower Group states, ‘Talentism is the new Capitalism’.”

In collaboration with over 40 private sector sponsors, WEDC’s $100,000 investment has resulted in young professional group leaders around the state collaborating to participate in the statewide Young Professionals Week (YPWeek) during the last week of April.

“Millennials make up the largest share of the population and labor force. This is true for both Wisconsin and the nation,” explained Bob Pope, WEDC research analyst and YPWeek Madison Event Planning Committee member. “We are competing to acquire this demographic, and Wisconsin’s success in attracting and retaining talent will give a competitive edge for key emerging economic driver industries.”

Created by the Milwaukee-based NEWaukee in 2012, YPWeek went statewide in 2015 with the support of WEDC. “Seeing what NEWaukee accomplished promoting Milwaukee as a premier destination for young professionals, we felt the same formula could be applied to other cities throughout Wisconsin,” says WEDC’s Rebecca Deschane, who helped build connections between NEWaukee and like-minded organization across the state interested in retaining and attracting talented young people. WEDC’s investment in replicating the YPWeek platform reflects the important role millennials have in the state’s future talent pipeline.

YPWeek engages the millennial workforce in activities and experiences that are important to them while educating their employers on the significant role these functions play in retaining their workforce. The concept of addressing the talent retention and attraction issues on a statewide level is still picking up steam: from 2015 to 2016, the number of individual events during the week increased from about 100 to about 150. Events are taking place in 15 communities this year, up from eight last year.

In 2016, YPWeek events will take place in Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine, Stevens Point, Marshfield, Wisconsin Rapids, La Crosse, Sheboygan, Door County, the Fox Cities, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac and Wausau. The week launches with the state-wide event, the Bubbler Awards, hosted by Pulse Young Professionals of the Fox Cities on Saturday, April 23. For more information on YPWeek Wisconsin, visit

In addition to YPWeek Wisconsin, WEDC will continue to work with its partners to develop other strategies to help attract and retain a strong workforce. Those efforts are expected to include developing ways to integrate young professionals into their communities; enlisting university alumni groups in recruitment and attraction efforts; and promoting Wisconsin’s quality of life as a great place to live and work.

“This is a national issue, and we are pleased to help build a collaborative, statewide effort to engage young talent,” Braun said. “We believe our investment to expand this first-of-its-kind initiative will position Wisconsin as a national leader in millennial engagement, dynamic workforce and leadership development, and help establish the state as an ideal workplace destination for young workers.”


About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. WEDC nurtures business growth and job creation by providing resources, technical support and financial assistance to companies, partners and communities in Wisconsin. WEDC has four focus areas: business and industry development, economic and community development, entrepreneurship and innovation and international business development. Together with more than 600 regional and local business development partners, it represents a highly responsive and coordinated network. Visit or follow WEDC on Twitter  @_InWisconsin to learn more.