Wisconsin, in need of more workers, takes aim at Chicago millennials

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jserraglio
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Wisconsin, in need of more workers, takes aim at Chicago millennials

Post by jserraglio » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:26 pm

Wall Street Journal

Beer. Cheese. The Packers.
That’s what many people think of when they hear “Wisconsin.” But the state wants to add a new word to the list: jobs.
The Badger State has an abundance of job openings, but not enough workers to fill them. Now, elected officials and businesses are hoping to woo residents from nearby states by pitching a low cost of living, short commute times and what they say is a high quality of life.
“It’s great to have more people working in Wisconsin than ever before, but it creates a challenge,” said Tricia Braun, chief operating officer for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. “We just essentially need more people.”
The worker shortage comes as the state is about to get even more jobs. Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group is investing $10 billion in a 20 million square-foot campus in southeastern Wisconsin that will make liquid-crystal-display screens like the ones used in smartphones, car dashboards and televisions. The facility is expected to employ as many as 13,000 workers.
In January, the economic development group announced a $1 million ad campaign trying to persuade Chicago millennials to move north to Wisconsin. Republican Gov. Scott Walker has proposed a broader ad campaign across Midwestern cities that would cost an additional $6.8 million. It is expected to pass the Republican state legislature this legislative session by March.
Like the rest of the Midwest, Wisconsin is contending with slow population growth, spurred by an aging population, fewer immigrants and low natural birth rates. Since 2010, the number of people leaving the state has exceeded the number of people moving in, according to Census Bureau data.
As a result, the labor force—the number of working-age people—grew just 1.4% from 2010 to 2016.
At the same time, the state is at or near full employment. State unemployment hit 3% in December, while the Madison region’s unemployment fell to 1.9% that month. The state department of workforce development estimated there will be about 45,000 job openings without the workforce to fill them by 2024.
Cities, like Milwaukee, a one-time brewing capital that now features microbrews and galleries in some downtown neighborhoods, and Madison, the state capital and home to the main campus of the University of Wisconsin, are also making their own case. They are pitching Wisconsin living through social-media campaigns on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Businesses are also partnering with local universities by offering more internships in hopes of convincing young people to stay and work in Wisconsin after they graduate.
“We think we can show people that you can have a better quality of life, make on net the same amount of money and there’s multiple job opportunities here,” said Zach Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. His group created ads that member businesses can embed on their websites for prospective employees.
Some Wisconsin Democrats have argued that the governor should be spending state funds investing in education, public transportation or parks, instead of ad campaigns. Some have also criticized the governor for offering $3 billion in tax incentives to Foxconn, money they say would be better spent on public services.
“The idea that $6.8 million outreach to millennials is going to be effective or more effective than just making the types of investments that people want to see, I think is silly,” said Gordon Hintz, the state assembly minority leader.
The ads in Chicago, that are appearing on trains, in health clubs and on YouTube, focus on quality of life and affordability. One compares a cramped studio apartment in Chicago to less expensive and more spacious lofts in Milwaukee, about 90 miles to the north. Another shows Chicago residents eating cheap, packaged ramen noodles as opposed to Madison residents eating freshly prepared ramen at a trendy restaurant.
Jo Eisenhart, the chief people officer at Milwaukee-based financial-services firm Northwestern Mutual, said when recruiting young professionals from other cities, she has to highlight the city’s amenities.
“The increasing thing that younger people are looking for is, Tell me about how my life outside of work is going to be,” she said.
One ad in Chicago shows exhausted train riders spending an hour commuting versus a quick drive on a Wisconsin highway. The extra time allows Wisconsin professionals to spend more time with their kids playing ball, having drinks with friends or kayaking on a lake, the ad argues.
That pitch didn’t resonate with Patrick Grimaldi, a 26 year-old lawyer who lives in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago and saw the ad while riding the L’s Brown Line.
“One of the things I like about this city is that I don’t have to have a car,” said Mr. Grimaldi. “I don’t want to sit in my car. That sounds terrible.”
Write to Shayndi Raice at shayndi.raice@wsj.com
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RebLem
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Re: Wisconsin, in need of more workers, takes aim at Chicago millennials

Post by RebLem » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:49 pm

Why should workers leave a state like Illinois, where they have rights, to go to a state like Wisconsin where they have none?
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
"Racism is America's Original Sin."--Francis Cardinal George, former Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago.

jserraglio
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Re: Wisconsin, in need of more workers, takes aim at Chicago millennials

Post by jserraglio » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:07 am

RebLem wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:49 pm
Why should workers leave a state like Illinois, where they have rights, to go to a state like Wisconsin where they have none?
Well, despite those Wisconsin ads, if you already have a good job in Illinois, you are probably not going to be lured elsewhere by the vague promise of a better quality of life and lower cost-of-living. But if you don't, you might feel vulnerable, no matter how many worker-rights laws Illinois puts on its books.

Worker rights notwithstanding, those out-of-state ads, whatever slick quality-of-life pitch they use, are going to appeal primarily to the distressed who are dissatisfied with their current financial situation.

The irony is that Wisconsin's Trumpist governor could bring in immigrants, train them, and alleviate its worker shortage. Will that happen? Not a chance.

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