Summer is in full swing as I write this Academy update. I am so grateful to be living in the beautiful State of Wisconsin. While I have always had my favorite state parks, I am making a concerted effort this year to visit parks that I have never seen before. While hiking through the woods, I am constantly reminded of the spectacular natural resources our state has to offer. Who wouldn’t want to live and work in our great State? That being said, our communities and businesses continue to face unprecedented challenges but also opportunities. Through WEDA Academy programming, we are working to provide access to relevant, affordable educational opportunities that will help to build your knowledge and skills as you work to provide excellent economic development services. I encourage you to consider attending one, two or all three of the remaining Academy programs we are offering in 2021.

It is not too late to register for the Academy webinar, Managing Economic Development Organizations, which will take place on August 4 from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. The course will be led by two very experienced economic developer leaders – Barb LaMue, CEcD, EDFP, President & CEO, New North Inc. and Ed White, EDFP, Executive Director, Sauk County Development Corporation. Topics will include developing a strategy and measuring success, building community and investor support, creating an effective team (staff, partners, and board) and budgets and funding approaches. This will be a great course for those who are considering a leadership role in an EDO, are new to managing an EDO or those interested in learning approaches from other organizations. This could also be a great course for your board and partner organizations. Visit to register today.

The Academy will be hosting a comprehensive program, Workforce Development: Overcoming Barriers – Building Opportunities, on September 29 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. just prior to the WEDA Best Practices Conference in Appleton. The program will kick off with a discussion of Principles of a Healthy Workforce Ecosystem with Barry Nickerson, MBA, Director of Initiatives, CAEL. The remainder of the program will explore resources, tools, and approaches that you can use to assist employers in your community that are experiencing worker shortages. Program speakers include George E. Bureau, Vice President Consulting, WMEP Manufacturing Solutions; Chris Czarnik, national career search and talent acquisition expert; and Bruce Palzkill, Assistant Administrator, Division of Employment and Training, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Those attending the Academy program will have an opportunity to join the afternoon pre-conference workforce housing site tours. Registration will be open soon on

On November 10, the Academy will be continuing the Workforce Development discussion with a webinar on overcoming barriers that workers may be experiencing. Information, resources, and examples will be explored, focusing on the challenges of transportation and childcare. As a result, the Academy program originally scheduled for that date, Placemaking: Creating Your Quality Place, will be a moved to 2022.

I hope that you will be able to join us for one or more of these exciting and affordable educational opportunities. As a reminder, be sure to look for approved credits/points for continuing education/recertification on the course registration information. Please reach out to me at if you have any program ideas or recommendations or if you are interested in serving as an instructor.