Washburn County Economic Development Corporation
December 2019 Newsletter
Director's Notes                                      
Dear Members,

As we prepare to wrap-up 2019, we want to thank all of our supporters, members, and sponsors for all of the support you've given us as we continue to strive for an even better Washburn County.  It's exciting to see the fruits of our labor begin to take effect!  Your financial and vocal support for not only the organization, but the County is just a part of what makes us successful in our mission.  Economic Development happens in all corners of our county and in ways that are easily visible and other ways that are not.  

As we look forward to the year 2020, we have a lot of plans and hopes for the organization and Washburn County.  I hope that you make the decision to become a part of our 2020 vision and be sure to become a member.  Not only do we rely on your memberships, but we've also gone out on a limb and planned something huge for our April 1st, 2020 Banquet.  You can read about the opportunities below.  Bringing this excellent speaker and mind to Washburn County is a significant expense for us, but it will be well worth it.  I like to remind everyone that the people of Washburn County deserve nice things just as much as people from larger and busier places.  

In that regard, we were reminded this past week about another great reason to live and work in Washburn County.  As it turns out, it is much easier and quicker to plow snow off of rural roads after a massive snow storm than it is in the more urban settings like Duluth.  Businesses all across Washburn County were able to resume business as usual much more quickly than our neighbors to the north, and for that, I'm grateful.  

As you browse this newsletter, please take a look at some of our scheduled seminars.  Our practical and educational programming has been made possible by a grant from Bank of the West, and another from CCF Bank.  Educated business leaders have a better success rate with their businesses, and we're proud to have many successful, growing businesses. 


Kind regards,

Joel Zimmerman 
Executive Director 
Washburn County Economic Development Corporation 
208 Vine Street 
Spooner, WI 54801 
Office: 715-635-8242
2020 Vision Sponsorship Opportunities Available!

Here's the good news, sponsorship of this event will give you an additional visual presence for the huge 2020 Vision: The 4th Annual WCEDC Award Banquet, as promotion for it is just underway.  That means the sponsors will have coverage of this event for months!  Here are the sponsorship levels available to businesses and individuals who want to participate in this headlining event!

Executive Pro Sponsor - $5000 (1 available)
  • listing on the event banner on Facebook and washburncountyedc.org 
  • named in radio ads that will air on Zoe Communication Stations
  • listed on all advertising and promotions for this event
  • a business promotional display at the event
  • a sign with name and logo at the front stage for the event
  • 4 free tickets to that evening at the table of Andrew Davis
  • logo on the photo backdrop for the meet and greet area
  • the opportunity to use the voice of Executive Director, Joel Zimmerman for your personal or business voice answering system.
  • All benefits of the Executive and Event Sponsorship levels

Executive Sponsor - $500 (9 available)
  • An opportunity to be identified as a sponsor of various parts of the event, and identified by a nice sign.  Contact Joel Zimmerman for further details.
  • An autographed book by Andrew Davis
  • Logo to be included on the professionally designed and printed posters
  • All benefits of the Event Sponsorship level
Event Sponsor - $200 (9 available)
  • Name listed in the program as an Event Sponsor
  • Name listed on the website and any Facebook advertisement
  • Name listed on the poster
Please contact Joel Zimmerman, joelz@washburncountyedc.org, 715-635-8242 to discuss options!
Become a 2020 member, today!

A huge thank you to those that have sent the 2020 membership forms!  If you forgot to send yours in, did not receive an application or are still considering your membership, please take the time to send yours in.  

Memberships to our organization are vital to our ability to continue making economic progress!

Help the future of Washburn County by supporting the Washburn County Economic Development Corporation!  To learn about the benefits of becoming a member and to view the Membership Application, Click 

Business Seminars and Educational Opportunities!

On December 18th, 2019, our next seminar is on social media marketing.  
In the age of digital marketing, developing and maintaining your social media presence is critical to your success. However, do you ever feel stick of what to say, or even what to post? In this session, we will discuss why it is important to keep your social media marketing going along with a five step content marketing strategy. You will also learn how to develop a basic return on investment for your social media strategy. Click here to register for any of our upcoming seminars!  

December 18, 2019: Social Media Marketing
January 15, 2020:  Small Business fundamentals
February 19, 2020:  Business Planning - Growing and Exiting Strategies
March 18th, 2020:  Marketing Musts

Seminars made possible through grants from Bank of the West and CCF Bank.
Are you experiencing the effects of a workforce deficit? 

I have heard from many businesses in various industries in Washburn County that the lack of workforce available to them has hampered their efforts to grow their business.  If you are experiencing a deficit, no matter how large or small, please let me know what you're looking for.  The WCEDC is partnering with an organization that will search out and bring the talent you're looking for here.  In the next couple of months, representatives from that organization will be here to speak to business leaders about their organization and how they can help.  This organization comes recommended from other EDC Directors in the region as a stand-up organization to work with.  Please send me an email of what you are looking for so I can document the needs across the county in one place.  joelz@washburncountyedc.org
December Featured Business Member:
Edward Jones, Scott Roppe

As an Edward Jones financial advisor, I believe it's important to invest my time to understand what you're working toward before you invest your money. It's also
important to understand the level of risk you're 
comfortable accepting when investing so we can balance
it with the steps necessary to reach your long-term goals.

A message from Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board

We have the opportunity to be a part of a statewide DOL grant relating to the impact of opioids on the workforce. The NWWIB has already done substantial work on this topic and has hosted two employers workshops, recorded a podcast and built national and statewide partnerships along the way. We are positioned nicely to be a part of the statewide grant.  As a part of the data collection process, we have developed a survey to quantify on a regional level the impact of drug use on employers.

We hope to build a robust picture of how employers are impacted by the opioid epidemic so the NWWIB and our regional partnerships can provide the proper support and resources.  I am asking that any business in NW WI complete the survey - which takes less than 30 seconds to do.

Also, if you would please share this survey among your networks I would truly appreciate it.  The more data or documentation, beyond anecdotal evidence, showing that employers face challenges filling job vacancies due to a lack of skilled workers able to pass a drug test or decreased economic activity related to, caused by, or contributing to a high rate of a substance use disorder - the better.

Thank you for your assistance in sharing this and completing the survey if you are a private sector business!

Workforce Housing Series

Workforce Housing Series  - Session 1
Framing the Issues and Opportunities 
This FREE webinar - scheduled for Thursday, December 12, 2019 form 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM - is an introduction to a broad 2020 Workforce Housing Series offered by the 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.
Training Deliverables:
Through this course, attendees will learn:
  • The causes and impacts of the workforce housing shortage
  • Policy, regulatory and program reforms to spur housing investment
  • Current legislative efforts linked to workforce housing
Webinar Summary:
In this webinar, Dr. Kurt Paulsen will provide an overview of his recently released report,  Falling Behind: Addressing Wisconsin's workforce housing shortage to strengthen families, communities and our economy. The report documents the significant workforce housing shortage, the main causes and the results and includes a roadmap to reform to meet our workforce housing challenges. Michael Welsh, WEDA's Legislative Director, will also be discussing current efforts being considered in the Legislature to address the state's housing shortage.
The session will provide participants with a foundation of knowledge on workforce housing in Wisconsin and of topics that will be part of WEDA's Legislative Day on January 15th (which is also free).
Workforce Housing Series- Sessions 2-4:
Wisconsin's workforce housing shortage is impacting communities and employers across the state.  The shortage makes it more difficult to attract or retain workers, impacting the economic competitiveness of communities, regions and businesses.  The Wisconsin Economic Development Academy is hosting a series of four programs on workforce housing that will provide participants with an understanding of the causes and impacts of the shortage, initiatives for addressing the shortage, best practices in workforce housing development and resources and tools to use in your community. 
Session 2: Financing Workforce Housing: Exploring Program Options and Models
February 5, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. - Madison Club, Madison 
Through this course, attendees will learn -
  • Financing structures of successful workforce housing projects
  • Project timelines, challenges and keys to success
  • Resources and programs available through a case study approach
  • Communicating the need for workforce housing
Session 3: Spurring Single Family Residential Investment, Tools for Your Market
April 28, 2020, 1:30-3:00 p.m. Webinar   
Through this course, attendees will learn -
  • The costs related to single family residential investment
  • Options for spurring new development, such as down payment assistance, first time home buyer program savings accounts, public investment in infrastructure, and employer assistance
  • Resources for rehabilitation of existing homes
Session 4: Workforce Housing: Identifying Local Needs, Municipal Tools and Zoning Practices
June TBD - Appleton
Through this course, attendees will learn:
  • Methods and examples of examining local housing needs/gaps and the cost of housing
  • Best Practices in permitting and the development approval process
  • Innovations in zoning practices and land use requirements
  • Municipal tools to encourage the development of workforce housing

Special Thanks to our Newsletter Sponsors:

Washburn County Economic Development Corporation | 715-635-8242 | joelz@washburncountyedc.org | www.washburncodevelopment.