Make sure your organization isn't "invisible" to your future workforce: sign up for inspire connections
With today’s tight labor market and challenges in finding workers, a critical part of the solution is encouraging young people growing up right here in the Chippewa Valley to aspire to careers with local employers.
Inspire Connections is a free online program that helps make that happen. It’s directly linked with the Career Cruising program currently being used by over 7,000 students in grades 6-12 in schools in Eau Claire County to explore potential careers. As students do this, Inspire Connections links them to the information about local employers that offer the kinds of jobs that fit their interests.
The only way to make sure that happens for your company is to be sure you set up a free profile. If you don’t, you’ll be “invisible” to local students as they begin to plan for their future. Inspire Connections also provides opportunities to offer job shadows, company tours, student employment and other activities.
You can register by following the instructions outlined below.
More about Inspire Connections
A majority of students across the state of Wisconsin are using the program as part of Wisconsin’s mandated Academic and Career Planning, curriculum implemented for students in grades 6 – 12 that get students actively exploring and planning for their career goals. Inspire has specific components that develop the workforce pipeline and help students achieve their career goals and exploration.
Here's how to register on your own:
Registering for a company profile is a two-stage, brief process, setting both you as an individual and your company up with an account that are linked to each other. If your company already has a profile, you can still register to volunteer as a Career Coach or offer a Work-based Learning Activity.
To begin the registration process, visit this link.
Stage 1: The first stage focuses on simply setting you up with an account as an individual, so you’ll create your login information. Once you complete this first stage, you’ll come to a screen prompting you to continue onto the next.
Stage 2: Once you continue onto the next stage, you’ll be asked to log in. Then you can input your company’s information which sets up the shell profile for your company. The questions after that will ask questions about your desired level of involvement as an individual in Inspire Connections and your personal career background/expertise, so answer them with yourself in mind rather than the company. You’ll be able to go and actually build your company’s profile and note careers that your organization hires once the registration process is complete.
After completing these two stages, you have now set up a profile for yourself and your company.
Showing students that you more than just exist
Now that you’ve signed up for Inspire Connections you’re no longer invisible to students while they are making career plans and exploring different options. But you don’t want to just stop here. If you didn’t continue building up your profile, students would only see your organization’s contact information, name, and industry rather than the information that is going to actually get them interested in you as a potential future employer.
An effective and complete employer profile allows you to show students that you more than just exist by communicating who you uniquely are, marketing yourself and the Chippewa Valley as a great place to work and live in, and what a career looks like in your industry or particular setting.
Log into your employer profile here to be able to edit your individual and company profiles and manage communications with students.
You will have access to editing the company’s profile if you are the individual who first created your company’s profile. All other volunteers from your company will only have access to their individual profiles and the activities (e.g. Career Discussion boards, Work-based Learning Activities) that they wanted to participate in.
As you get involved in offering additional opportunities like coaching and work-based learning activities, individuals at our company will be asked to complete a simple online background check, at no cost, thanks to the support from Momentum West.
General tips for building your profile:
To become familiar with using Inspire Connection’s main features and learning how to build an effective company profile, watch this PowerPoint presentation. The PowerPoint with audio recording gives important tips that are going to allow you to be easily found by students and things you can do while building your profile to drive student interest. Instructions for watching and listening to the PowerPoint: download and open the PowerPoint, click on the "slide show" tab on the top, then start the presentation from the beginning. There is an audio recording that will automatically play while in the presenting view. If you want to just listen to the recording for a specific slide, go to that slide (while in the editing view rather than presenter view) and click on the speaker icon that is located on the bottom right hand corner of each slide.
Posted by: Kaylee Tracy, Legislative & Workforce Development Intern
Tariffs hitting local businesses hard with increased costs, market uncertainty
The tariffs imposed by the President targeting foreign steel and aluminum are increasing product input costs for businesses across industries in food processing, manufacturing, agriculture, and construction. Retaliatory tariffs have affected farmers, who are now selling products below their cost of production. Not only are cost increases starting to squeeze businesses and farmers, but we’re likely to see broader effects like significant consumer price increases, job losses and inflation.
On Tuesday August 7, 2018, the Chamber hosted U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) for a round table where businesses from a variety of industries discussed the negative impact that the tariffs have had on local businesses and industries. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee which has jurisdiction over international trade, Kind expressed a recent “push on the world economic agenda” to resolve the trade war quickly.
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has also put the spotlight on the detrimental impact to Wisconsin businesses. In a 20 page letter to the President, he said, “I urge you and your trade representatives to understand the plight of businesses struggling during this period of extreme uncertainty, and do everything in your power to return certainty and stability to the global markets.”
Focus on tariffs and trade at Friday's Eggs & Issue
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, over $1 billion of exports from Wisconsin are endangered by the tariffs and retaliatory actions from other countries. John Kirchner from the U.S. Chamber will join us for the Chamber’s August 17 Eggs & Issues to discuss federal issues of importance to the business community. Click here for more information and to register.
What is a tariff and why were they imposed?
Earlier this year, President Trump imposed a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum under sections 232 and 301 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, claiming the action was necessary to protect national security. A tariff is a tax on imports to discourage consumers and businesses from buying product from particular countries. The importer is the one who actually pays the tariff, but in order to make up for the extra cost, the company must absorb it, or if it can’t, pass it onto the consumer. Steel prices have gone up about 50% and aluminum up anywhere from 10% - 130% since the tariffs were announced.
The tariffs do target countries like China that have been unfairly flooding the market and stealing intellectual property, but also cover strong allies like Mexico, China, and the European Union (EU). Targeted countries responded with counter-tariffs which have further restricted trade and created a larger economic impact.
At the round table, Rep. Kind noted that although the end goal of creating a fairer trade environment and holding China accountable is beneficial, he wished the Administration would take a different approach and set an example for other countries to live up to. The Administration could have formed an international coalition with others that have been negatively impacted by unfair trade practices and brought China to the World Trade Organization (WTO) for retribution where the U.S. has had 100% win record.
How tariffs are hurting Wisconsin businesses and industries
Over 17 businesses and representatives from manufacturing, agriculture, and building all attended the round table to share the impact of the tariffs locally. The stories they shared testified to the fact that the negative consequences present themselves different in each industry and have ripple effects beyond increasing the cost of foreign steel and aluminum.
As a direct effect, Timm Beotcher – CEO of Realityworks – said that his company is buying steel at a price 45% greater than what it was a year ago. Unfortunately, they will most likely have to pass the cost onto the consumer unless the trade war is resolved quickly. Some industries like the auto industry or builders have more constraints in responding to input price increases as they have to honor quotes given for projects and experience difficulty giving quotes for future projects due to the uncertainty of price levels.
The ripple effect of increasing lumbar costs have businesses reexamining preexisting plans to make capital investments. Projects like building expansions and improvements are being put off, according to Laura Talley, the Market President for BMO Harris. “For every one job in steel and aluminum, 200 jobs for consumers are impacted,” emphasized Rep. Kind in regard to the wide-spread effects of an injury to these two industries.
Farmers are being hit hard, too. Dairy farmers are experiencing roughly a $1 price decrease in milk and are struggling more than non-dairy farmers as they must sell the milk at low prices before it expires. Tony Mellenthin spoke on behalf of soybean farmers and the Wisconsin Soybean Association when he said that a bushel of soybeans is selling anywhere from $1-2 less than its production cost. He did note that those farming grain or beans have a little more flexibility than those producing perishable items. Rep. Kind inquired as to how long Mellenthin thought soybean farmers could last under the current conditions, and he predicted a year at the most.
The long-term effects of tariffs
The price increases and postponed capital investments are just the immediate effects. The greater long-term concern is that even though the tariffs were intended to encourage buying American-made goods, they along with the retaliatory tariffs will decrease competitiveness of the American economy. Multiple businesses expressed concern that their market share that took decades to build up is now or soon will be gone over night. Cindy Brown works for Chippewa Valley Bean: a company that has been around for over 150 years. She said, “This is the worst thing that government has done to us in that time.” If the tariffs do not end shortly, employers may be faced with losing their market shares and possibly layoffs to keep afloat.
The Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) President and CEO, Kurt Bauer, acknowledged the strengthened competitiveness of the U.S. economy based on other economic policies implemented by the Trump Administration in an article from the Wisconsin Business Voice. His praise was qualified with a statement, “On the downside, I am very concerned that a trade war caused by Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs could derail the current economic momentum, both nationally and in Wisconsin.”
Where Wisconsin Congressional Representatives Stand
Similar to Rep. Kind, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has been working to share the deeply felt effects on Wisconsin industries with the Administration by holding listening sessions as well and actively communicating with the Administration.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has expressed support for “America first” economic policies, but not the tariffs. “I support better trade deals, not trade wars. Tariffs against our trading partners in Europe do not fix our trade problems, and President Trump’s haphazard approach on tariffs with our allies will hurt Wisconsin’s manufacturing and agriculture economy.” See her Tweet, here.
Contrastingly, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) is cautiously optimistic about the tariffs. “My district has the largest production of cranberries in America…I’m concerned about the growers. I’ve made that known to the trade representative on how important this is. But also, in the end I think we can be way better off for everybody and every industry if we’re able to get other countries to reduce their barriers to trade,” said Duffy in an article from WPR.
Here’s what’s being done to advocate for your business
Rep. Kind at the round table outlined two pieces of legislation that have been introduced within the past couple months that would protect against future tariffs. The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
The U.S. Chamber has strongly been taking action in opposition of the tariffs. One effort has been to release a state-by-state analysis showing the tariffs’ impact. You can view the details here, at www.thewrongapproach.com.
The illustration below depicts some of Wisconsin’s hardest hit products.
The Trump Administration has announced that an estimated $12 billion in aid will be distributed to farmers hopefully beginning September. Rep. Kind and farmers at the round table said that this is just a short-term solution to an artificial issue, and would prefer having free trade rather than the subsidies.
Strategies to alleviate the effects of tariffs on your business
Importers and manufacturers have a couple options available to them to help reduce some of the effects. Actions include applying for an exemption – although this process only has about a 1% chance of success – changing your Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes, or applying to be considered a foreign trade zone. Contact Scott Rogers at (715) 858–0616 or email@example.com to be connected with resources.
You can attend the Chamber’s August 17 Eggs & Issues hosting Jon Kirchner from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to hear a business-focused outlook on federal issues. Kirchner is the manager of Congressional and Public Affairs for the Midwest Region. Click here for more information and to register.
More information on tariffs: Tariffs' impact harming Wisconsin businesses (Leader-Telegram), As Trump talks tariffs, here's what you need to know (Forbes), Ron Johnson to Trump: Trade war doing 'permanent damage' to Wisconsin businesses (Wisconsin State Journal)
Posted by Kaylee Tracy, Legislative & Workforce Development Intern
It's been 12 years of planning but the finished project is well worth the wait! Congratulations to the City of Eau Claire on the new fire station.
Jan Zander, PE, executive vice president at engineering and architecture consulting firm Ayres Associates, began in July a one-year term as chairman of the board of the American Council of Engineering Companies of Wisconsin (ACEC), which is a coalition of 81 independent consulting firms practicing civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, environmental and geotechnical engineering. Zander joined Ayres in 1990, beginning in the Eau Claire office, followed by stints in the firm’s Madison, Waukesha, and Phoenix area offices before returning to Eau Claire in 2008 upon being named an executive vice president. His previous responsibilities have included supervision of transportation engineers and project management of roadway and bridge projects. Zander oversees a number of the firm’s operations groups, as well as the firm's project management and group management training.
Mike Noreen of River Falls joined the Chippewa Valley Technical College Board of Directors. Noreen, the conservation and efficiency coordinator for River Falls Municipal Utilities, will serve a three-year term as an employee member. Noreen earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental education from Western Washington University and a master’s degree teaching science from Northern Arizona University. He has also taken coursework at UW-Stevens Point, UW-River Falls and community colleges in Washington and Arizona.
Pablo Center at the Confluence recently announced the inaugural 2018-19 season. This lineup will be part of the Pablo Presents series, including the Set List which will be a series to watch for an ever-expanding lineup of regional and national bands. Find the full Pablo Presents lineup here. Tickets for the 2018-19 season will be available for purchase at PabloCenter.org on Thursday, Aug. 23 at 10 a.m. Please visit PabloCenter.org for more information, a full listing of events, and to order tickets when they go on sale.
Christopher D. Williams, M.D. recently joined the Pulmonology Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Williams earned a medical degree at Vinayaka Mission’s Medical College, Karaikal, Pondicherry, India. He completed a residency at St. Barnabas Hospital in New York. He completed fellowships at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, and at the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile. Williams is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in critical care medicine, internal medicine and pulmonary medicine. He also is board-eligible in sleep medicine.
A $47,000 matching grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services was received by Mayo Clinic Health System to train emergency medicine advanced practice providers in point-of-care ultrasound — a technology used to provide timely diagnoses for trauma and critical care patients. The grant is part of more than $300,000 awarded to support development of eight training sites to ensure access to quality health care in rural and underserved areas of the state. The grant will be applied toward training equipment, instructor training, quality improvement infrastructure and the first several courses. The courses will be available to physician assistants and nurse practitioners who practice at Mayo Clinic Health System critical access hospitals in Barron, Bloomer, Menomonie and Osseo, as well as other rural emergency medicine providers throughout Wisconsin.
HSHS St. Joseph’s Hospital’s mammography program passed its annual Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) inspection earlier this week, received no recommendations for improvement and has been recertified. MQSA is the accrediting branch of the FDA with special focus on mammography quality, reporting and billing. To operate lawfully, a mammography facility must be MQSA certified and undergo an annual inspection conducted by federally trained and certified federal or state personnel. Congress enacted MQSA to ensure that all women have access to quality mammography for the detection of breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.
The City of Eau Claire is sponsoring an "Idea Lounge" meeting on the evening of August 14 to explore the potential for developing projects in the three areas in the city designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones earlier this year.
The Opportunity Zones program was established by Congress in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act as an innovative approach to spurring long-term private sector investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. The program is based on the bipartisan Investing in Opportunity Act. The program establishes a mechanism that enables investors with capital gains tax liabilities across the country to receive favorable tax treatment for investing in Opportunity Funds that
are certified by the U.S. Treasury Department. The Opportunity Funds use the capital invested to make equity investments in businesses and real estate in Opportunity Zones designated by each state.
Rep. Ron Kind (D-3) was one of the sponsors of the Investing in Opportunity Act, and Governor Walker designated the Wisconsin zones in March. The Eau Claire Chamber wrote a letter in support of including zones in Eau Claire.
The City was recently approached by a potential Qualified Opportunity Fund about projects in our area. The August 14 meeting will be an opportunity to meet the developers and provide input on projects that could be financed utilizing Opportunity Funds. They could include business ideas, construction projects, and redevelopment ideas located in the Opportunity Zones. This is a free event. Light refreshments provided.
Opportunity Zones Idea Lounge
Tuesday, August 14, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Royal Credit Union, 200 Riverfront Terrace, Eau Claire River Room (1st Floor)
Click here for more event information
Dr. Erik Dickson was recently announced as the new medical director for skilled nursing and post acute care provider Dove Healthcare – South Eau Claire. Dickson is the chief physician executive for HSHS Western Division and a family medicine physician with OakLeaf Clinics - Eau Claire Medical Clinic. As the medical director, Dickson will ensure that appropriate systems exist to facilitate good medical care using current standards of practice. He will assist in establishing and applying good monitoring systems, and ensure effective documentation and follow up of findings. Lastly, Dickson will assist in maintaining physician compliance with the State and Federal Regulations.
Wipfli will be hosting the first of nine monthly Human Resources (HR) Business Forum meetings in Eau Claire. The Human Resource Business Forums have a set curriculum to educate participants on the key functional areas of HR management. These forums are ideal for individuals who do not have a formal education in HR management, who may be new to the field and are looking to acquire foundational knowledge, or who are looking to strengthen their technical skills. Meetings are held monthly September through May and all will be held in Eau Claire. Participants are encouraged to register soon as space is limited.
Pablo Center at the Confluence announced the following new additions to its staff:
Bilal Unar, M.D., recently joined the Hospital Medicine Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Unar completed medical school at Isra University in Hyderabad, Pakistan. He completed an internal medicine residency at Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield. Unar’s professional interests include cardiovascular diseases, clinical research, critical care medicine, hypertension and quality improvement.
Thomas Lowry, M.D., will begin to see patients four days in Ear, Nose & Throat at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire and one day in Rice Lake. He has been seeing patients in Rice Lake only for the past 18 months. Lowry completed medical school at Texas Tech University Health Science Center School of Medicine in Lubbock. He completed a residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center, located at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He relocated back to northwest Wisconsin with his family in 2008.
Speech-language pathologist Hailey Brost recently joined the Speech-Language Therapy Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Brost earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from UW-Eau Claire. She is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Her professional interests include working with people with aphasia and providing functional intervention.
Campus Pride has given UW-Eau Claire its highest rating, five stars, in its Campus Pride Index, a tool that helps colleges and universities improve campus life for LGBTQIA+ students. Campus Pride is the leading nonprofit organization in the U.S. working to create more LGBTQIA+-friendly learning environments at colleges and universities. With the five-star rating, UW-Eau Claire becomes one of just 27 U.S. colleges and universities (and one of two in the UW System) to receive Campus Pride’s highest recognition. According to the Campus Pride website, the index rankings are based on a school’s performance on to eight “inclusion factors” as they relate to LGBTQIA+ students: policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, housing and residence life, campus safety, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention.
UW-Eau Claire also has been named one of Affordable Colleges Online’s Most LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges and Universities for 2018-19, ranking 10th out of 69 schools that made the list. UW-Eau Claire is one of just four UW System universities to be included. Affordable Colleges Online examined data from all accredited postsecondary schools in the nation in determining its list of top LGBTQIA+-friendly institutions. Its goal was to find those colleges that “offered the most notable balances of academic rigor, LGBTQ student support and affordability,” according to the Affordable Colleges Online website. A school’s Campus Pride Index ranking is a component of its score in the Affordable Colleges Online ranking.
Marco recently acquired the managed and infrastructure support services previously provided by Ticomix, a technology company headquartered in Rockford, Illinois. The 21 employees from Ticomix that support these IT services have joined Marco’s team and will be serving clients from Marco’s current office in Rockford and Ticomix’s office in Milwaukee. Marco now has 1,200 employees and 52 locations throughout the Midwest and nationally. This is Marco’s fourth acquisition this year as the company continues its strategy to expand its geographic footprint and technology solutions in existing markets.
The Lakely, a farm-to-fork restaurant inside The Oxbow Hotel in downtown Eau Claire, is partnering up with other local brunch establishments to put together an outdoor brunch festival held in the courtyard and parking lot of the hotel and restaurant. This new event intends to celebrate and promote all things brunch in the Chippewa Valley. Upon entrance, event-goers will receive five food tickets. Attendees will then make their way around the venue to visit each establishment’s tent and in total, be treated to five “courses” of brunch foods and five “courses” of brunch cocktails from a variety of brunch staples around town. A number of local breweries will also be on-site offering samples of their brunch-iest brews. Live music, Kubb, and other popular yard games will keep guests entertained in between all of the eating and drinking. Music lineup will be announced soon. Brunch Bash is a 21+ event taking place outside of The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely on Saturday, August 18th from 10am to 2pm. Single tickets are $35, and two-packs of tickets are priced at $65. All tickets can be purchased in advance from www.volumeonetickets.org.
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.