YPWeek: Statewide events in April

Young professional groups aim to build community, retain local talent

Posted on Mar 1, 2016 :: Connections
Andrew Schaick
Posted by , Insight on Business Staff Writer

Northeast Wisconsin is known for its tight-knit communities, and while that can be a good thing, it also can be a hurdle when it comes to attracting the young talent needed to sustain the regional economy.

To help that talent feel at home, young professional programs such as Pulse in the Fox Cities and Current in Green Bay are upping their game to retain and attract young talent in the area.

Whether it’s young adults just graduating from college, or a young family relocating, Pulse can make sure the community welcomes them, says Adrienne Palm, director of the Fox Cities Chamber program.

“When we find something lacking in this area, we make it our mission to make sure those things happen,” Palm says. “There are multiple ways we can help usher in the kind of community we are looking for, whether it’s something that exists and we aren’t connected to it yet or whether it is something that has to be built.”

Current, a program of the Greater Green Bay Chamber, strives for similar goals.

“Our primary mission is based on four pillars,” says Brian Johnson, Current Young Professionals manager. “We want to attract young talent to the area, we want to engage them in the community, we want to develop them as leaders and we want to retain them.”

Both programs hold events throughout the year, ranging from professional development to after-hours social gatherings.

A big week for young professionals is the statewide Young Professionals Week beginning April 23. This collaborative effort encourages young professional groups to focus on events and work together to promote Wisconsin as an attractive place to live and work.

Benefit for employers

Young professional groups and events are common within larger corporations. While these provide comaraderie at work, encouraging young employees to join groups outside of the business can build an allegianceto the area.

“Although internal groups are great for employees to get connected at an internal level, it doesn’t create retention within the community,” Palm says. “If you want people to stay, you not only have to make them invested in where they work but also in the community at large.”

The same goes for Current.

“We want our members to experience different things and our goal is we want them to view Green Bay as a place where they want to live and contribute,” Johnson says.

Taking the plunge

Attending a young professionals event for the first time can be an overwhelming situation, but understanding that others feel the same can help.

“You have to understand that when you are in a young professionals group, a lot of them are not from here,” says Mark DesJardin, a member of Pulse. “The more you go and the more questions you ask, the more people you will meet and the easier it becomes.”