La Crosse-based college is one of nine higher education institutions joining WEDC campaign featuring graduates who have chosen Wisconsin as their career destination

La Crosse, WI. June 15, 2018 — The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and Western Technical College today unveiled a new marketing campaign aimed at encouraging alumni of Wisconsin colleges and universities to pursue their personal and professional goals in Wisconsin.

The campaign includes social media ads that link to videos that feature the perspectives of young people who have studied in Wisconsin and landed their dream jobs here, either right out of school or after leaving the state and deciding to return here.

Among those featured in the “alumni snapshots” is Carl Klemp, who graduated from Western Technical College in 2010 and lived in Virginia for one year before returning to Wisconsin.

Western is one of nine Wisconsin colleges and universities with alumni featured in the ads, which are appearing nationally on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. The ads are targeted specifically to reach graduates of more than 60 Wisconsin colleges and universities, or people who engage with those institutions on social media.

The campaign marks the first time the state has teamed up with Wisconsin colleges and universities on a marketing initiative aimed at talent attraction.

All ads link to a new alumni webpage on, where visitors are invited to explore both career and lifestyle opportunities in the state. The page includes job search and home search tools as well as a prompt that asks other Wisconsin graduates to “share your story,” which will increase engagement with, and awareness of, the campaign.

“Most graduates of Wisconsin’s universities and colleges have fond memories of their college days – regardless of where they may now live,” said Tricia Braun, deputy secretary and chief operating officer of WEDC, who joined Western Technical College officials in unveiling the campaign Friday in La Crosse. “This effort is aimed at reminding those alumni that the things they loved most about Wisconsin – the quality of life, the Midwestern values, the cultural and outdoor activities – haven’t changed since they left school. We want them to seriously consider ‘coming home.’”

The alumni initiative is one of three components of a $6.8 million marketing campaign to attract and retain talented workers in Wisconsin to meet the workforce demands of today and tomorrow. Legislation authorizing funding for the campaign was signed into law by Governor Scott Walker in April. The campaign also will target transitioning military service members and their families and Midwest millennials living outside Wisconsin.

Western Technical College President Roger Stanford, who joined Braun at Friday’s event, said reaching out to alumni is an example of type of innovative action needed to address the worker shortage in the region and throughout the state.

“Employers in our area and around the state are in are need of a skilled workforce,” said Stanford. “By demonstrating the natural beauty, countless job opportunities and vibrant lifestyle, WEDC’s efforts in highlighting the best of what Wisconsin has to offer is an excellent opportunity to bring our alumni back to the state.”

The initiative also is supported by Chris Hardie, executive director of the 7 Rivers Alliance, the regional economic development organization serving the La Crosse area.

“The 7 Rivers Alliance 10-year workforce development plan — Workforce Innovation for a Strong Economy (WISE) — shows that our region will be more than 15,000 workers short of what we need by 2026,” Hardie said. “We need to make stronger connections with our students from Western Technical College and our other colleges and universities to keep our best and brightest living and working here in the 7 Rivers Region. Our quality of life, outstanding schools, safe communities and outdoor amenities make us a great region to work and play.”

Other educational institutions working with WEDC on this initiative include the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Whitewater, UW-Platteville, St. Norbert College in Green Bay and Lakeshore Technical College in Manitowoc County.

In addition to those nine institutions, WEDC also is developing a toolkit that will allow other Wisconsin colleges and universities to share their alumni success stories in Wisconsin in a co-branded fashion.

The campaign unveiled Friday is an extension of a $1 million marketing campaign launched in January to encourage young professionals in the Chicago area to consider living and working in Wisconsin. Part of that campaign included placing ads in University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni newsletters.