MADISON, Wis. – Gov. Scott Walker wants to spend almost $7 million on a marketing campaign to target millennials and veterans in an effort to fill positions at businesses like the new Foxconn production plant.
Walker announced the workforce agenda titled “Men and Women at Work” at the Future Wisconsin Summit on Nov. 29. It also includes investing $11.5 billion into K-12 education, increasing worker training and reforming welfare.
“We’re dedicated to maintaining and developing the highly skilled workforce Wisconsin is known for,” said Walker.
He said he will work with the legislature to approve the bill, allocating $6.8 million to the targeted campaign, leveraging the resources of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Travel Wisconsin.
“Once you got outside of the state of Wisconsin, the idea of what kind of opportunities there were for careers, for just quality of life, were not well known. And so it identified a real opportunity to start getting people to think about Wisconsin and consider Wisconsin when making those choices,” said Tricia Braun, deputy secretary and COO of Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
Braun also referenced a 2015 poll done by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce that asked out-of-state University of Wisconsin students whether they planned to stay in the state after graduation.
“Many of them said ‘No, because what I’m going into, there aren’t a lot of jobs here.’ And that is just not true. It showed that we have to do a better job of promoting our industries and the types of opportunities that are available really across the state,” she said.
$3.8 million would be spent on face-to-face marketing to veterans at recruiting events across the country.
“Their talent and their skills that they have been trained in their military careers are really aligned with Wisconsin’s industries,” said Braun.
The other $3 million would go to promoting Wisconsin in Minneapolis and other big cities in the Midwest, through social media and poster campaigns targeting millennials.
“They’re trained, and they’re likely already in the workforce or just entering the workforce, but also they’re more apt to move. They’re not quite as settled. They likely don’t have children already enrolled in schools,” said Braun.
Unlike the rest of the state, Madison stands out for its success in attracting young professionals. From 2000 to 2010, the city gained 10,385 workers ages 20-40. During that same time, Wisconsin lost 45,141 young workers.
A CareerBuilder study shows Madison has seen the largest increase in millennial workers out of the 100 most populous U.S. cities.
Walker hopes to get the new campaign approved this legislative session.
There is a $1 million campaign already approved and scheduled to launch in January that is aimed at getting recent alumni from University of Wisconsin institutions living in the Chicago area to return to Wisconsin.
“The ability to have this additional funding and additional resources is really going to make the message go a lot farther,” said Braun.