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La Crosse Businesses Look To Keep Young, Skilled Workers

More Local Graduates Choosing To Relocate

J. Stephen Conn (CC-BY-NC)

Like other Midwest states, Wisconsin has felt the impact of so-called “brain drain” — graduates leaving for jobs and opportunities elsewhere in the country.

Some La Crosse area employers are working to tackle the issue in their part of the state.

Accountants and people working in IT are in high demand in La Crosse. And while the area’s universities and colleges are preparing students for those jobs, fewer are finding reasons to stick around and use those skills locally.

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Lisa Herr is executive director of 7 Rivers Alliance, an economic development group based in La Crosse. She said businesses have been able to sell new recruits on La Crosse’s geographic beauty, but retaining local talent is a different story. Younger workers, she said, have different needs than baby boomers, who might consider the area as an eventual retirement destination.

“Corporate culture and meaningful work are going to be critical,” Herr said. “They need to know the work they’re doing contributes to the company as a whole and impacts the community where they live.”

Business leaders will be hosting a seminar, in conjunction with 7 Rivers Alliance, on Feb. 18 in La Crosse focused on retaining and recruiting younger, high-skilled workers.

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