The Workforce Connector is a publication of Eau Claire Area Chamber Workforce Initiatives. The information provided is meant to be a resource outlining the Chamber's efforts to help navigate workforce challenges, highlight solutions and provide connections to area Employers.
The Eau Claire Area Chamber has many initiatives to help employers retain, recruit and development employees. Many of these programs, committees, and events have been around for years; At the 2019 Annual meeting our CEO/President David Minor announced the intention of focusing on Workforce Challenges and Solutions in the Chippewa Valley. This publication and the initiatives highlighted below are the beginning.
Workforce Playbook: An online Employer Resource
The Workforce Playbook is a comprehensive directory of the workforce programs available to employers in the Eau Claire area, Western Wisconsin, and state of Wisconsin to help deal with workforce challenges.
Navigate through the site with a convenient directory of workforce categories, programs, and calendar of events. To further define your search you can choose a Target age group.
Developed and maintained by the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, produced by JB Systems, and funded through a grant donation by US Bank this website became a live website in April of 2019.
Employer Highlight: a monthly focus on Chamber members
Riverside Machining & Engineering
In December 2019 Chamber staff were invited to tour and learn more about an area Manufacturer, Riverside Machining & Engineering at 2445 Alpine Rd, in Eau Claire. Recently winning a national EPIC award from one of their suppliers, Chamber staff took time to learn history, success stories and workforce challenges Riverside is facing.
Located on the North side of Eau Claire, Riverside Machine & Engineering has been specializing in precision machining of aluminum heat sinks, cold plates, and heat exchanges since 1985. They were acquired by Metal Craft in 1996 in an effort to join machining and engineering capabilities as one united force. Riverside moved into its current location on the North side of Eau Claire in 2014. Riverside is open and running varied shifts 7 days a week.
Riverside provides top notch materials to large companies such as Stricker, Medtronic, Epicon, and Johnson & Johnson. Their products work to save or improve lives and technology examples include but aren't limited to heat sinks, cold plates, electronics, laser etching, prototype services, aerospace & defense work. They are among a small group of manufacturers that specialize in “Vacuum alum brazing” says Operations Manager Mark Brooks. He goes on to mention that the facility has seen $3.5 million in upgrades in 2019 alone, and a 32% growth in the company's product distribution they are on track to duplicate that growth in 2020. Producing 5000-7000 pieces per year.
When asked about workforce demands Brooks says they are seeing retention, and recruitment issues like many other area business, and are looking for internal ways to combat turnover. Brooks mentioned streamlining processes within the plant and working on an internal training and development plan. Riverside has just over 150 employees; they currently have 7 open positions. While a healthy percent have over 30 years experience at this company alone, on average the retention rate is at about 10 years.
Riverside currently takes on engineering interns primarily from Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) and University of Wisconsin - Stout but is hoping that they can continue to expand internships and apprenticeships currently offered. Right now approx. 50% of graduates are recruited from these two education institutions.
Pictured below: Chamber Staff Kaylynn Stahlbusch, Scott Rogers and CEO/President David Minor attended the Supplier Excellence, EPIC Award Ceremony that Raytheon awards its top business partners.
Local Area Resources and News
Make Chippewa Valley
Manufacturing isn’t what it used to be. It is better, way better. Five companies within the Chippewa Valley of Wisconsin came together to create this video showcasing the manufacturing sector. Those companies are Great Northern Corporation, Nestle, J&D Manufacturing, Riverside, & PMI.
Wisconsin Economic Development Center (WEDC) has a marketing slogan of “Think.Make.Happen in Wisconsin” This project used WEDC’s slogan as inspiration to create “Make Chippewa Valley”. The video focuses on “Making” a career out of working in the manufacturing sector, and how recently careers in this field have changed for the better.
UWIN: University of Wisconsin Internship Network
A collaboration designed to increase the number of internships in Western Wisconsin.
A partnership to improve the business to internship relationship
UW System and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation introduce online “how to” Talent Generator “New online tool will help businesses start successful internship programs”
EAU CLAIRE, Wis.—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.
2020 Outlook: Robust Hiring Intentions Expected in First Quarter for Wisconsin
Among the local employers surveyed, 28 percent plan to hire more employees from January through March. This number is offset by the 6 percent that plan to reduce payrolls while 65 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels and 1 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans. This yields a net employment outlook of 22 percent.
“Compared to Q4 2019 when the Net Employment Outlook was 23 percent, Wisconsin employers have reported consistent hiring pace,” said Amber Laurent of Manpower. “When looking at year-over-year expectations, hiring intentions have remained stable from when the Outlook was 23 percent.”
View the complete Q1 2020 U.S. survey results: ManpowerGroup.US/MEOS
For the coming months of January - March, employers are optimistic to hire across all 13 industry sectors: Construction, Durable Goods Manufacturing, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing, Transportation & Utilities, Wholesale & Retail Trade, Information, Financial Activities, Professional & Business Services, Education & Health Services, Leisure & Hospitality, Other Services and Government.
U.S. Hiring Plans
“Continued concerns over trade uncertainty are leading to some uneven market conditions in the U.S., yet the overall labor market looks resilient heading into the new year,” said Becky Frankiewicz, President of ManpowerGroup North America. “With 7M jobs open for 11 straight months and ongoing positive hiring intentions across all industries, employers need to work harder to match people to the right roles. Companies that want to hire and retain the best talent, should hire for learnability and help people develop new skills for emerging roles. Our economic prosperity depends on helping people adapt their skills so companies can compete in a talent-scarce economy.”
Complete results for the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey are available for download at ManpowerGroup.US/MEOS. The Q2 2020 survey will be released March 10, 2020.
*The Net Employment Outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation CEO Missy Hughes speaking at the Future Wisconsin Summit. She mentioned her visit to Eau Claire where she toured the Oxbow, Pablo Center for the Arts and Jamf.
Fall of 2019
Menomonie Chamber Announces New CEO
Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce and welcome Ashley DeMuth as the new CEO of the Chamber. DeMuth will be responsible for creating value-added member programming, recruiting new members, and managing day to day activities to carry out the Chamber’s mission; to strengthen member businesses and stimulate regional prosperity.
Ashley comes to the Chamber with a knowledge of non-profits having served as Executive Director of United Way and Center Director for the Boys and Girls Club. Through these roles, Ashley had the opportunity to see the community from different facets while developing relationships with local business leaders and program partners. Ashley developed a strong devotion for the nonprofit sector after graduating from the University of Wisconsin – Stout with her B.S. in Vocational Rehabilitation. Her fiscal, program, and operations management experiences make her a great fit for this role. It is Ashley’s passion to build a strong community that we all deserve.
“Ashley is an excellent addition to the team and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role. Her enthusiasm is contagious and we are thrilled she explored our opportunity and accepted our offer,” shared Carmen Trimble, 2020 president-elect.
Ashley will help the Chamber usher in the new decade. Under her leadership, we expect to see new programming and offerings to our members. Outside of work, Ashley enjoys bowling, watching sporting events, listening to live music and traveling with her husband and two children. Ashley’s family calls Colfax home and operates a small hobby farm.
About the Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce:
The Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization located on Main Street in Menomonie. Our mission is to strengthen member businesses and stimulate regional prosperity. We aim to be the catalyst organization that ensures that the Greater Menomonie Area is a vibrant place to do business, work and live.
About our Workforce Director
Kaylynn is the Workforce and Program Director at the Eau Claire Area Chamber. Starting in her new role in the spring of 2019 she is working with Scott Rogers, Government Affairs and Workforce Director, and Danielle Kummer, Finance Director to highlight and expand the over 20 Workforce Initiatives that the Chamber currently offers. Please email or call if you have questions, suggestions or would like to get involved.
Eau Claire Chamber
The Eau Claire Chamber of Commerce has more than 1,200 members.