In 2017, two regional healthcare employers, NorthLakes Community Clinic and Northern Lights Services reached out to the Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board (NWWIB) for assistance in solving their recruitment and retention issues. Discussions with these forward-thinking companies identified four hard-to-fill positions. NWWIB staff recalled that other large urban areas were hosting industry specific talent attraction events and worked to scale their successes to a rural model. From these early discussions, the idea for Superior Talent was born. Superior Talent’s purpose is to attract Master’s-level healthcare professionals to the Chequamegon Bay area. Superior Talent focused on the need for healthcare professionals in speech language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and nursing. Local healthcare employers and businesses sponsored much of the event and were involved in the weekend’s activities.
For the March 2018 event, Superior Talent brought students studying in the designated four occupations to the Chequamegon Bay to meet with employers and explore the region. The goal was to expose them to the region, all it has to offer, and in the end consider a relocation to the area for employment upon graduation. By providing students with a more thorough introduction to the employers and the lifestyle, we aim to not only recruit but also retain those who would be moving here. Students were recruited from Universities across Wisconsin and Minnesota to come on a 3-day all-inclusive career exploration trip. Over the course of their visit, students went on healthcare employer tours, participated in networking events, explored the region, went on a nature hike, visited the local brewery, and participated in a discussion panel with the employers.
By bringing students to the area in this format, they were not only able to connect with employers and tour the various facilities, but they also formed deeper relationships with the employers and were able to explore the work culture of the various facilities. They also had the opportunity to discover the lifestyle of the region and all of the things the region has to offer by exploring the area and meeting with local residents. A specific focus was on the work-life balance that small rural areas with natural beauty can provide.
Our 2018 was so successful that we are expanding into the manufacturing industry in Price County.
Funding for the inaugural Superior Talent was supported by employer sponsorships, community sponsorship, and a grant supporting talent attraction from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.