State Officials Tour Rural Businesses to Address Workforce Development

Several state officials toured rural businesses across Wisconsin on Friday.

This comes after Governor Tony Evers announced he was making a push to support and enhance rural communities and the rural workforce.

“Wisconsin only does well only when all of Wisconsin does well,” said Joel Brennan, Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary. “Our competition isn’t amongst one part of the state versus another or necessarily amongst our region, we’re competing globally. We need to do what we can as a state to ensure that they can be as successful as possible.”

The state secretaries gained valuable insight and perspective from rural businesses to come up with possible solutions in the future to address issues faced.

“Some are having trouble finding growth because of a lack of workforce, we’re finding challenges because we need new housing and better healthcare, so all around the state we’re seeing a repetition of issues,” said Missy Hughes, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary.

To help support and expand the rural workforce, the Office of Rural Propsperity will be created under the WEDC.

“The idea is to have a one stop shop for communities to come to us and say we’re looking at this project, or we’ve got this idea,” Hughes said. “Then we can bring in the force of the rest of the departments of the whole state government and figure out how to make that idea come to fruition.”

Listening sessions will take place throughout the spring and summer, with hopes of having a plan of action set in stone by the fall.