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Collaborative Program Connects Employers and Students from UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout and CVTC

RELEASED: Feb. 23, 2005

EAU CLAIRE — Students from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, UW-Stout and the Chippewa Valley Technical College are part of an innovative new program to meet and network with area professionals while learning about career possibilities in the Chippewa Valley.

More than 100 students from the three institutions applied, and 30 were selected to be part of the collaborative pilot program, which is aimed at preventing "brain drain" from the region. The participants meet monthly this semester with leaders from area businesses, non-profit agencies, health care and industry.

"The program was marketed to students with an interest in jobs or internships in the Chippewa Valley or those who want to stay here after graduation," said Jeanne Skoug, director of Career Services at UW-Eau Claire. "The large number of applicants tells us there is strong interest in living and working here."

The participants, who represent a cross-section of majors from the three institutions, were selected for the program on the basis of their interest, enthusiasm and commitment to attend the meetings.

Connie Ross, who just earned a master's degree in training and development from UW-Stout, applied for the program because she thought it would be a good place to make contacts and network while conducting her job search.

"Sure enough, there were representatives at the College Connections program from the companies I'm interested in working for. The program is everything I hoped it would be," said Ross, who wants to work in the area because it's close to her hometown, Neillsville, and offers easy access to the Twin Cities. "From networking, to meeting new friends, to listening to business employees coach us on networking or working a room or building contacts, it was all great."

Skoug said the program's goals include creating awareness among students of what the Chippewa Valley has to offer in terms of employment. "It's a chance to meet professionals from this area, get advice and network with people who hire interns and full-time employees," she said. "It's also a way for regional employers to meet some highly skilled and talented students from our three institutions."

Program coordinator LuCinda Hohmann, who graduated from UW-Eau Claire in December, said there are many students who want to stay in the area after graduation, but they don't know much about the opportunities.

"The more I'm here, the more I realize how many job opportunities there are," said Hohmann, who is the intern coordinator in the Career Services office.

Hohmann said the next meeting on March 1 will feature a panel of Chippewa Valley employers who will give overviews of their industries, tell their personal stories of how they got where they are now, discuss what it's like to work in the Chippewa Valley and talk about internship and full-time professional opportunities. In April the program will feature a panel of recent alumni who work in the area. In May area CEOs will share their success stories with the group.

The program is sponsored by the regional economic development agency Momentum Chippewa Valley in partnership with UW-Eau Claire, UW-Stout and Chippewa Valley Technical College.

-30-

JW

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