Braun, chief operating officer of the Wisconsin Economic
Development Corporation, talks to Waukesha County
Business Alliance members Friday about WEDC’s efforts to
attract and retain Midwestern millennials, state
university graduates, and veterans. Braun’s presentation
was part of the alliance’s Key Industries event at
Country Springs Hotel and Conference Center in Waukesha.
Cara Spoto/Freeman Staff
WAUKESHA — With industries facing tough waters
recruiting qualified employees, local business leaders
gathered Friday morning at Country Springs Hotel and
Conference Center to talk about how best to attract
millennials and other talent pools.
they learned is that while there is no one-size-fits-all
approach, the key is to get their story out to workers
about what their workplace, and their community, has to
Organized by the Waukesha County Business Alliance, the
event featured a panel discussion with industry experts,
and was capped by a keynote address by Tricia Braun.
chief operating officer of the Wisconsin Economic
Development Corporation, Braun gave the gathering a
glimpse into the agency’s new marketing campaign aimed
at attracting and retaining Midwestern millennials,
alumni from the state’s universities, and veterans.
WEDC has already earmarked about $1 million of its own
funds to target those groups in Chicago, but Gov. Scott
Walker has called on lawmakers to approve another $6.8
million to expand those efforts to other Midwestern
cities, like Detroit and Minneapolis.
your workplace apart
Kelly Renz, president and CEO of The Novo Group, which
helps industries with recruiting, the key to solving
what she called the “gap in talent” is setting your
just read some statistics and some studies around
technical talent, IT and engineering, and in five years
there will be three jobs for every one with a person
with that talent set,” said Renz, speaking during the
an organization if you are not differentiating yourself
enough, making yourself unique enough to attract the
talent that you need, you need to do it now.”
effort doesn’t have to be high cost, but it should be
high focus, Renz said, noting a great way to attract new
blood is to embrace “unique employment deals” for new
are not just talking about benefits, because, guess
what? Companies have benefits. But what else is unique?
What is the flexibility you offer? What are the learning
and development programs you have? What are the
mentoring capabilities that you offer? If you look at
what millennials want, they want someone to invest in
them,” she continued.
are the days of posting a job, and just praying that
qualified people will apply, Renz said, adding companies
need to seek out skilled workers where they like to hang
the WEDC and its efforts to retain and attract more
talent to the state, the focus has been on highlighting
what makes Wisconsin — and its various regions —
attractive and unique places to live, work and raise a
family, explained Braun.
WEDC came up with its latest campaign after talking to
millennials about what they enjoy about life in
Wisconsin, Braun told alliance members, and learned that
what they like best is having more of what they love to
“They have more time with their families. They have more
spending money. They have a bigger house,” Braun said.
“The theme was ‘here in Wisconsin, you can have more of
you.’” Dubbed “Think, Make, Happen,” the campaign
focuses heavily on quality of life benefits, comparing
Chicagoland’s arduous commutes and high-cost housing
with metro living in Wisconsin that leaves time and
money for dining out and spending time with family.
“Make bedtime, or make playtime,” reads one ad. Another
states: “If you were in Wisconsin, you’d be home by
separate slate of ads focuses on young veterans and what
the state has to offer them.
People can get a look at some of the ads themselves when
WEDC launches a new website dedicated to recruiting
businesses and talents later this month.