WAUSAU – The Branch’s spring session, which begins later this month, will allow a limited number of residents who are not students to participate for the first time. The program invites those who would benefit from this opportunity to ‘upskill’ to apply for the spring session. The Branch teaches collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking as teams work on challenges sponsored by local businesses. Teams will be made up largely of students from a variety of colleges and universities in central Wisconsin.

The program’s spring 2020 session was abruptly canceled due to the pandemic. The Branch will return with a kick off event on Saturday, February 26. The kick off session will be held at Northcentral Technical College’s Wausau campus. The Branch is a workforce development initiative introduced by the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce, Northcentral Technical College and Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. in 2016. The program is an entrepreneurial skills accelerator which is designed to retain talent in central Wisconsin.

Student teams will work on innovation challenges from Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. and Ruder Ware LLSC during the session. Interested students can review the spring schedule and apply on The Branch’s website. Students who are accepted into and complete the spring 2022 program will receive a $500 scholarship.

“The Branch asks students from around the region to solve complex problems and to be entrepreneurial while connecting to the companies that need this local talent.” said Dave Eckmann, President/CEO of the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce. “We live in a very talent-competitive economy and will for the next 25 years, making this program very important to develop and retain the young members of our community.”

To view student and mentor testimonials and to watch videos from the program’s several Demo Day events, visit The Branch’s YouTube channel.

AROW Global Corp, Ansay & Associates LLC, Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I., the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce, Incredible Bank, M3 Insurance, North Central Health Care, Ruder Ware LLSC and Westphal Staffing Inc are sponsors of the program. UWSP at Wausau and the Wausau River District are program partners.

For more information or to register as a coach for a team, visit The Branch’s website. Businesses that are interested in becoming involved with the program can also register projects through the site or contact Brian Otten, marketing manager at the Chamber, at botten@wausauchamber.com or 715-848-5947.