Events focus on jobs, education and rural development initiatives

MADISON, WI. Jan. 23, 2020 – During a series of events on Friday, Administration Secretary Joel Brennan, Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes are sharing Governor Evers’ message of rural prosperity that was highlighted in Wednesday’s State of the State address.

The secretaries are visiting Stevens Point, Crandon, Shell Lake and Cumberland to listen to members of the community and showcase agency initiatives aiming to address worker training and retention, rural economic development, transportation and health care.

Governor Evers’ State of the State Address focused on investing in rural communities, reducing student debt, and nonpartisan redistricting.

“The people of Wisconsin expect their elected officials to work together on the challenges facing our state,” said Secretary Brennan. “Meeting with different companies in rural Wisconsin is a great way for our agencies to share the governor’s message and collaborate with the people in the community.”

“The projects visited today demonstrate how state agencies, with the help of the private sector, can connect the dots between education and employment, health care and quality of life, and diversity and economic growth,” said Secretary Frostman. “The Department of Workforce Development is eager to showcase how successful businesses and communities leverage state resources to attract, develop and retain talent here in Wisconsin.”

Secretary Hughes added, “One of the best parts of my job at WEDC is seeing firsthand the innovative approaches Wisconsin businesses and local leaders are taking. I’m so pleased that Secretaries Brennan and Frostman will be joining me, especially as WEDC and our agencies explore new ways to help our rural communities grow and thrive.”

The secretaries will visit:

Stevens Point: Marten Machining

Marten Machining has been involved in DWD’s Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program for more than 20 years. Throughout this time, Marten Machining has been a huge advocate of the YA program, and this fall the company started using Registered Apprenticeship to train machinist apprentices. Marten Machining also utilized the new YA to RA bridge program to transition one of the new machinist apprentices from a youth apprenticeship into the current Wisconsin Registered Apprentice Program.

Marten Machining is a family-owned business that started in Alan and Deb Marten’s garage in 1984, and continues to experience growth and innovation. Their current planned move into a new 50,000-square-foot facility will add space for additional employees as well as future manufacturing equipment. Marten Machining partners with local area high schools in Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, Rosholt and Amherst, as well as technical colleges—Mid-State Technical College and Northcentral Technical College—and campuses in the UW System to help provide students with opportunities to pursue careers in manufacturing through scholarships, youth apprenticeships, internships and flexible scheduling to work around their classes.

Crandon: Hometown Trolley

With help from WEDC, Hometown Trolley has developed a $20 million-a-year manufacturing business with more than 50 employees in the heart of Crandon. The third-generation, woman-owned company started out in the 1990s making hand-crafted replicas of turn-of-the-century trolley buses for tour companies and shopping districts. The company’s line has expanded to include custom-made tour buses, with sales of both products throughout the U.S., Canada and South America.

Shell Lake: Indianhead Medical Center

WEDC is assisting the City of Shell Lake with a $250,000 Community Development Investment Grant to the Indianhead Medical Center (IMC) hospital and the attached Shell Lake Clinic. IMC is a privately-owned 25-bed critical access hospital with a 24-hour emergency room that has aided the community since 1947, and today offers services such as medical testing, consultation and rehabilitation, general surgery, urology, cardiology, podiatry, orthopedics and radiology. The WEDC grant will support construction of a new 9,000-square-foot clinic building, an ambulance garage, remodeling of the emergency room and operating room, and other improvements.

Cumberland: City of Cumberland

The Department of Administration (DOA) is assisting the City of Cumberland with upgrades of its aging sanitary sewer system, the oldest components of which date back to the 1960s. The system has many pipe joint failures, service connection failures and manhole leaks, while inflow and infiltration issues have increased water treatment costs and health concerns. DOA is providing $1 million in assistance through the Community Development Block Grant Program, which will cover about 60% of the total project cost.