The Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce celebrated 2018 successes and looked ahead to the future at this morning’s Report to the Community at the Grand Meridian in Appleton.
Becky Bartoszek, who became president and CEO of the chamber in September, said she plans to take a forward-thinking, data-driven approach in 2019.
Plans for 2019 are beginning to take shape. The chamber announced the cities for its popular Bazaar After Dark events: Brillion, Little Chute and Neenah-Menasha on to-be-determined dates.
Paula Brusky, owner of Aerial Dance, which has locations in Appleton and De Pere, serves as a chamber ambassador and spoke in praise of the organization’s Bazaar After Dark events. “That is amazing, what we’re creating in our community through Bazaar After Dark,” she said.
The chamber also announced the Your Future Live eighth grade and high school career expo, which typically draws about 2,000 attendees each day, will be held March 6 and 7 at the Fox Cities Exhibition Center.
Heather Schimmers, a chamber board member and vice president of patient care at Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital, spoke about the need for talent. In 2029, the last of the baby boomers will reach retirement age, resulting in a 70 percent increase in Americans who will be over 65, she said. By 2030, a physician shortage of 120,000 is forecast.
Educating youth about health care careers — and all careers — is vital, Schimmers said. At last year’s Your Future Live event, her organization connected with many students and made multiple hires.
“It was the perfect venue for us to tell our story,” she said. “It’s fantastic because we then can employ them, offer them tuition reimbursement, keep them planted in the Fox Cities.”
Successes for 2018 included continuing to build on Bazaar After Dark, providing $50,000 in grants to organizations through Octoberfest and advocating to help save the Kimberly-Clark Cold Spring plant.