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The challenge of replacing baby boomers with millennials



Trying to recruit millennial workers to Wisconsin and get the right kind of jobs is becoming a challenge.

It’s one the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) is dealing with, as well as La Crosse’s Chamber of Commerce.

“We have baby boomers that are aging faster than we have millennials coming in to take their place,” Chamber Director Vicki Markussen said. “And a lot of those baby boomers are in positions that the millennial’s skill sets don’t align with.”

Markussen added that marketing has become an important part of their work, trying to promote lifestyle as why people should come to La Crosse.

The direction the chamber is taking focuses on keeping people in the area, rather than attracting outsiders.

“It’s a numbers game,” Markussen said. “We have more jobs than we have people to fill those positions. There’s been a lot of work in the last 3 years to get our existing work base to have the skill sets needed.”

Tricia Braun, COO of WEDC, recently talked about trying to appeal to millennial in response to a worker shortage in the state. Markussen believes she’s found the answer.

“They love the outdoor recreational opportunities that we have,” Markussen said, adding also there’s little traffic to deal with. “They love the historic nature of downtown La Crosse.”

Markussen says they work closely with an entrepreneurs group to get the pulse of the generation and what it is they desire.

Born in Decorah Iowa. I've been a news reporter for the last 10 years, starting right out of college in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Other professional opportunities led me to Marshalltown, Iowa and Antigo Wisconsin, before I finally was afforded the opportunity here in La Crosse. I've been here since 2016. I also act as the voice of local sports, doing play by play of high school and college football and basketball. When not working I enjoy golfing.

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