WAUSAU — The Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce will host a Future in Focus program at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, February 23 at the Jefferson Street Event Center in Wausau.

Workforce and talent were a significant challenge ahead of the pandemic. Today, the challenge is greater and poses a serious economic threat to our region’s economic viability. Wade Goodsell, Executive Director with the WMC Foundation, is acutely aware of the talent issues facing our state and our region. Goodsell’s keynote will focus on the WMC Foundation’s most recent report, ‘Wisconsin 2035; A vision for Wisconsin’s economic future.’ This publication, released in December of 2021, is an active blueprint for the future of business development in Wisconsin and how it relates to our workforce challenges.

“Wisconsin 2035 is an economic blueprint for the state to be successful.” said Goodsell. “The state is likely to change in many ways over 15 years. To ensure sustained economic growth, Wisconsin cannot sit back and watch as other states pass it by.”

The Wisconsin 2035 report proposes a number of strategies, including breaking down barriers to entry to the state’s labor force, beginning with proposed tax reform. The role that taxes play in talent attraction and retention will be highlighted in Goodsell’s presentation, which will also touch upon aligning education with business needs and a talent attraction campaign.

Three years ago, the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce unveiled the Greater Wausau Region Strategic Economic Development Plan to its members and the community at large. A core strategic pillar in the plan is focused on talent, to develop, attract and retain skilled and knowledgeable workforce that empowers our companies to innovate and compete in the 21st century knowledge economy. This focus on talent is mirrored in the Wisconsin 2035 report.

“It should be noted that the Wisconsin 2035 report is just a start, not a finish.” said Goodsell. “The report is meant to offer a vision for the state’s economic future. That means it will evolve over the next 15 years and continue to offer new ideas to make sure the state is ready to tackle its toughest challenges.”

Check-in, a lunch buffet and networking will begin at 11 a.m. followed by the program to be held from at 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $50 for members and $75 for non-members.

To register for this event visit WausauChamber.com or call 715-845-6231.

The presenting sponsor for the program is Peoples State Bank. The platinum sponsors are The Dirks Group LLC and Ruder Ware LLSC the bronze sponsor is TDS Telecom and the facility sponsor is Jefferson Street Event Center. Those interested in becoming sponsors for this event should contact Stacy Livernash at 715-848-5955.