Tuesday, June 21, 2011

City of Sun Prairie and Sun Prairie Chamber Co-Host 2nd Annual Business Park Networking Breakfast (City of Sun Prairie Office of Economic Development

Mayor John Murray prepares to introduce Wisconsin Department of Regulation & Licensing Secretary Dave Ross to attendees to the 2nd Annual Business Park Networking Breakfast (Photo by Neil Stechschulte)

City of Sun Prairie and Sun Prairie Chamber Co-Host 2nd Annual Business Park Networking Breakfast

37 people from 19 different companies attended the 2nd Annual Business Park Networking Breakfast held Tuesday morning at Wisconsin Distributors. Participating companies included: Coakley Brothers/Datastore, MSI Mechanical Systems, Faith Technologies, Appliance Products, Regius Rubber, Independent Pharmacy Cooperative, Badger Graphics, Harms Insurance, Pro-Active Engineering, Palmer Johnson, Frontier Communications, Wisconsin Distributors, Prairie Land Towing, Matrix Product Development, Inform, Four Lakes Label, TREK Diagnostics, WPPI Energy, and Sun Prairie Utilities.

Mayor John Murray invited Secretary Dave Ross from the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing to speak, and introduced him to crowd. Secretary Ross discussed his department's efforts to 1) speed up the administrative investigation process and 2) eliminate unnecessary investigations into non-legitimate complaints about license holders. He also discussed Governor Walker's budget, including impacts to local governments.

Attendees were asked to introduce themselves, their company, their primary product or service, and were asked to name one challenge that they were currently facing. The several responses having to do with the slow economy as a whole were no surprise. The number of comments and concerns voiced from several small manufacturers and warehousing businesses about their difficulties finding employees, however, indicates that this concern is an issue needing some attention. Specifically, the concern centered around the ability to find skilled employees for hands-on technical positions.

"The City of Sun Prairie and the Sun Prairie Chamber of Commerce are going to respond to this issue immediately, and have already begun to discuss how we can work together to address this apparent growing concern" said Neil Stechschulte, Economic Development Director. "The Chamber had already scheduled workforce development as a topic for one of their upcoming monthly lunch meetings later this summer, and it was very obvious that employers in attendance today would like us to address this issue as soon as possible."

Stechschulte stated several initiatives would likely be developed in the next week or so, and a schedule for implementation would be announced shortly thereafter. The City will be reaching out to local and State partners right away, including but not limited to DWD, WORC, the Sun Prairie Area School District, Madison College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and other local training resources.

Stechschulte went on to say, "In order to attract new light manufacturing uses to our City in the future, we need to rise up to the challenge and assist the quality manufacturing companies we already have in the business park and throughout our community. This is something we need to do right now."

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