Focus on Calumet
A bi-weekly update on economic development opportunities in Calumet County
and the region for businesses, entrepreneurs, and communities.

Monday, December 9, 2019
Realism about Reskilling: Upgrading the Career Prospects of America’s Low-Wage Workers
Brookings Institute, 11/7/2019
Every person deserves the opportunity for dignified employment that provides living wages and potential for advancement. But for many in America today caught in a cycle of low-wage work, this is far from reality. Low-wage workers are struggling—and not for a lack of new jobs. The coming flood of innovation will create new tasks and occupations, and the labor market will demand new skills just as quickly as it will shirk others. Robots may be unlikely to wholly replace America’s workers anytime soon, but new technologies will radically displace workers, eliminating jobs in some industries while expanding others.
Policy and company responses have failed to keep pace with this transformation. As the labor market splits into low-wage and high-wage work, lower tier jobs are precarious, marked by unpredictable schedules, reduced benefits, and stagnant wages. While reskilling alone will not be enough to lessen inequality or provide equal opportunity in the face of these trends, it must be an integral part of the solution to support workers without leaving anyone behind.  

Who are America's Most Vulnerable Workers,
and What are their Prospects?
  • An estimated 53 million people—44 percent of all U.S. workers ages 18-64—are low-wage workers.
  • Low-wage work spans gender, race, and geography; but, women and members of racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately likely to be low-wage workers.
  • Low-wage workers switch jobs most frequently but are more likely to churn within a set of low-wage occupations.
  • Certain occupations are likelier to lead to higher wages.
Note: The 92-page report offers some useful insights and reasons for optimism for us in Northeast Wisconsin.
  • Wisconsin and the upper Midwest fare better than many other US regions;
  • Workforce reskilling opportunities provided by WEDC, technical colleges, workforce development boards, and related partners will continue to be critical;
  • The strong presence of the manufacturing sector in Wisconsin will protect us from the low-wage stagnation seen in other regions for the foreseeable future;
  • Global trends project job growth in computer related fields and engineering, among other higher tech careers. Continued emphasis in these fields through programs like the NEW IT Alliance and Microsoft TechSpark Wisconsin are critical.
Talent Generator to Help Make Workforce Development Easier
To make it easier for businesses to launch their own internship programs, the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) have introduced the Talent Generator, a new online tool offering smart tips and best practices for creating and sustaining a successful student talent development program. The online Talent Generator is designed to help small and medium-sized companies develop and sustain successful internship programs. It will help Wisconsin further solidify its reputation as a national leader in student internships. The modules are free to all users and available here
Food Flows between Counties in the United States
For the first time ever, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois just developed the first high-resolution map of the U.S. food supply chain . The map is a comprehensive snapshot of all food flows between counties in the U.S.—grains, fruits and vegetables, animal feed, and processed food items.

To build the map, they brought together information from eight databases, including the Freight Analysis Framework from Oak Ridge National Laboratory , which tracks where items are shipped around the country, and Port Trade data from the U.S. Census Bureau , which shows the international ports through which goods are traded. The information was released in a publicly available database. Not exactly economic development, but a super interesting map to consider. In all, there are approximately 9.5 million connections included in the map.
Xiaowen Lin et al 2019 Environ. Res. Lett. 14 084011 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/ab29ae
Local Business Updates
Corporate Citizen of the Year: Sargento Foods
Biz Times, Catherine Jowzik , 11/22/19
Plymouth-based Sargento Foods, a family-owned and operated cheese distribution company since 1953, boasts decades of charitable efforts centering on education, shelter, and food in Wisconsin communities.
Sargento has provided contributions for several organizations including Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity, to which the company has donated $1.7 million; Hunger Task Force and the United Way.

With campaigns such as Double Helping for Hunger, which features 2018 National League Most Valuable Player Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers, Sargento has helped raise more than $1 million for Wisconsin families in need of food. This year, Sargento teamed up with the Green Bay Packers and running back Aaron Jones for the annual Touchdowns for Hunger campaign.
Photo Credit: Biz Times
The company aims to foster a spirit of giving in the workplace, offering time off for employees to volunteer with nonprofit organizations, and provides a dollar-for-dollar match for employee contributions made during United Way’s corporate campaign.
Steve Klessig Knows his ABCs
By David Norby, The Brillion News , 11/27/2019
He has done a lot in his career, but Steve Klessig says being elected by Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) board of directors to serve as the 2020 national chair-elect is near the top of his accomplishments.

“I’d say it ranks right up there with high career achievements,” Klessig, Keller’s vice president of architecture and engineering, said.

ABC is a national construction industry trade group. Established in 1950, it currently represents 21,000 member companies. The Wisconsin chapter in Madison is the largest in the country with 887 member companies this year. Its membership includes general contractors, trades people, sub contractors, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and other jobs of the like.

Klessig pitches his case for the construction industry as part of the goal of workforce development.

“It’s a great job. It pays well. It’s safe. People don’t think it’s glamorous, but you can leave high school, get into the trades, get paid to take an apprenticeship,” Klessig says, as he lists off the steps one can take to a prosperous career in the industry. “In many cases, make more money than a four-year college graduate,” he said. Currently, Klessig says, nearly all good contractors are looking for workers. “We think it’s a really attractive career,” he said. 
Chilton Journal Begins Publication
The Chilton Journal has commenced publication, serving the areas of Chilton, Stockbridge, Hilbert, and the greater Calumet region. Nannette Jodar is the Publisher, Owner, and Editor. It is published weekly on Thursdays. For information, reach them at 262-573-2796 or .
Assisted Living Facility Opens in Village of Harrison
Care Partners Assisted Living is a 56 bed assisted living facility with 20 beds focused on alzheimers and dementia specific care and 36 beds for assisted living. The facility offers a secure and home-like environment for residents. A ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility was held in November to celebrate the opening.
Leadership Transition at Premiere Credit Union
Steve Nothem (right) recently congratulated Brad Grant on being named president of Premier Financial Credit Union with branches in New Holstein and Chilton. Nothem is continuing on as chief executive officer (CEO) of Premier Financial until the end of February when he retires.
Photo credit: Mark Sherry,
Tri-County News
Support for Business and Entrepreneurs
According to SCORE, small business owners who receive three or more hours of mentoring report higher revenues and increased growth. Whether it be through SCORE or any of the other many small business mentoring programs available, we urge business owners to take advantage of mentorship. Listed are a few of the programs that Calumet County Community Economic Development specifically offers to help small businesses succeed and grow.  
  • Small Business Counselor: Small Business Development Center business counseling services are offered by Ray York, Sheboygan County EDC and Small Business Development Center Entrepreneurship Specialist. Available to all existing businesses and entrepreneurs monthly. To schedule an appointment or learn more, call 920-946-9379 or email Ray
  • First Steps: The Small Business Development Center offers a free, interactive, online class to help entrepreneurs explore their business idea and assess their entrepreneurial readiness as well as identify strengths and weaknesses as a business owner. This interactive online class includes downloadable worksheets, hands-on exercises, local entrepreneur stories, and additional resources to determine next steps. The best part about the class is that it is available anywhere and anytime, and it’s free! For more information or to register for first steps, click here.
  • Entrepreneurial Training Program: ETP is taught in eight efficient sessions to help businesses and entrepreneurs develop a plan for a thriving, profitable business. This will allow entrepreneurs to organize and better manage a business, along with receiving funding and writing a detailed, comprehensive business plan. The next program begins in Sheboygan in April, but it’s never too soon to think about signing up.
Upcoming Events

Workforce Housing Series
Session 1:
Framing the Issues and Opportunities
This FREE webinar - scheduled for Thursday, December 12, 2019, from 1:30 to 2:30 pm - is an introduction to a broad 2020 Workforce Housing Series offered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Academy that will include a combination of both in-person, classroom style workshops and other webinars. 
The introductory webinar aims to provide participants with a clear understanding of issues surrounding the Wisconsin workforce housing shortage and opportunities for reform, including potential legislation initiatives.
Session 2: Financing Workforce Housing: Exploring Program Options and Models
February 5, 2020; 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, Madison Club, Madison

Session 3: Spurring Single Family Residential Investment, Tools for Your Market
April 28, 2020, 1:30 to 3:00 pm, Webinar

Session 4: Workforce Housing: Identifying Local Needs, Municipal Tool, and Zoning Practices
June 2020, Appleton, WI
Engaging with Large Employers Webinar
This webinar with Brian Johnson, Director of the On Broadway District in Green Bay, will cover strategies for reaching and engaging with large employers in your community on behalf of downtown. Participants will better understand how to develop sponsorship packages, messages, and programs that make downtown relevant for large employers (and their employees).

Date: January 15, 2020
Time: 12:00 noon - 1:00 pm
Community Marketing and Engagement Workshop
Save the date!

March 13
Lake Mills, WI
Registration coming soon
Building Your Business Model
Evaluating and modeling potential new business ventures is the focus of this course. Students will explore and map how a business intends to make money through the four main areas of a business: customers, offer, infrastructure, and financial viability. Through a hands-on, experiential approach students gain a better understanding of how to transform a start-up into a repeatable and scalable business venture.

Dates: Wednesdays, January 22 - March 11, 2020 | 12:30 to 2:50 pm
Location: Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton Campus, Room B126
Cost: $304.80
Dates: January 20 - March 14, 2020
Explore the Innovation Accelerator for Veterans
Success Begins Here.

Are you a Veteran who’d like to start or grow your own business? Wondering where to start? Attend a complimentary Explore Innovation Accelerator session to learn more.

During the Explore Innovation Accelerator session, take a look inside at what it takes to launch a startup and small business. Whether you’re looking to turn your side-hustle into a full-time gig, grow your small business, or scale a startup, this session will help you understand your next steps.

The Innovation Accelerator for Veterans was made possible by a generous grant from the Wisconsin Department of Veteran’s Affairs in partnership with Fox Valley Technical College Venture Center.

Get more details and register here. The next sessions will be held on December 18 at 5:30-7:00 pm at the Fox Valley Technical College Venture Center in Appleton.
Explore Starting a Business
The complimentary “Explore Starting a Business” session provides a look inside at what it takes to launch a startup and small business. Explore key factors in starting and growing a business. Begin to determine if you have a feasible idea, learn about critica l questions to consider, and additional entrepreneurship training opportunities. Whether you are looking to turn your side hustle into a full-time gig, grow your small business, or scale a startup, this session will help you understand your next steps.

You will learn about:
  • The entrepreneur/business owner mindset
  • Critical questions to consider when launching or growing a business
  • Entrepreneurship Training: The experience and the results
  • 12 essentials for ramping up your business

Get more details and register here. The next sessions will be held on December 11 or January 8 at 5:30 pm at the Fox Valley Technical College JD Bordini Center in Appleton.
Please forward to others you think would benefit from this newsletter.
Want to get on the mailing list? Sign up here .
If you receive a forwarded copy of this newsletter and no longer want to receive it, please contact the person who e-mailed the newsletter and ask to be removed from their list; do not use the unsubscribe feature.