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Event to connect local employers with Blugold alumni, students

| Julie Poquette

UW-Eau Claire alumni and students are invited to participate in Chippewa Valley Connect, a local networking and employment fair, from 3-5 p.m. Feb. 15 in the Foster Gallery of the university’s Haas Fine Arts Center.

Attendees should bring their résumés and will be able to connect with approximately 20 Chippewa Valley employers interested in hiring qualified UW-Eau Claire students and graduates for internships and full-time positions.

“On my visits with area employers, they tell me there is a shortage of available individuals who possess the skills they need on their teams,” said Staci Heidtke, associate director of career services at UW-Eau Claire and co-coordinator of Chippewa Valley Connect. “We know we have UW-Eau Claire alumni and students with these needed skill sets. Chippewa Valley Connect will put these talented Blugolds and area employers together in a setting that allows them to make meaningful and mutually productive connections.”

Chippewa Valley Connect is the second UW-Eau Claire event in recent months with a dual focus on informing Blugolds about local employment opportunities while also helping area employers find the talent they need to help their businesses succeed.

“There are so many exciting developments happening in the Chippewa Valley — our students see that, and word is spreading to our alumni living in other places that this is a wonderful area to live and work in,” said John Bachmeier, director of corporate relations for the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and Chippewa Valley Connect co-coordinator. “We’re interested in letting Blugolds know about the opportunities to pursue their career goals in this vibrant region.”

Bachmeier also helped coordinate an event last summer that brought together more than 220 UW-Eau Claire alumni living in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. At a gathering before a St. Paul Saints baseball game, representatives from 12 Eau Claire area businesses talked with the Blugold alumni about recent positive changes and growth in Eau Claire. The intent was to spur the alums’ interest in moving back to the community where they attended college. In follow-up to the St. Paul gathering, events for UW-Eau Claire alumni from the Twin Cities area are planned in Eau Claire during the Eau Claire Jazz Festival April 21-22.

Like the event in St. Paul, Chippewa Valley Connect directly supports the ongoing efforts of Momentum West, a regional economic development organization that serves a 10-county region in western Wisconsin. Momentum West is in the midst of an initiative to expand the talent pool available to businesses in the region.

“The state and our area are net exporters of talent,” said Steve Jahn, Momentum West executive director. “One of the focal points of the Momentum West regional talent initiative is to keep young professionals and graduates of our higher education institutions in the region after they graduate.  Chippewa Valley Connect is a perfect example of an effort designed to accomplish this and will undoubtedly have a positive effect in the region.”

Limited space is available at Chippewa Valley Connect for area employers interested in recruiting interns and full-time professionals. Interested employers should complete the online registration form.

For more information about Chippewa Valley Connect, contact Staci Heidtke at heidtksl@uwec.edu or 715-836-2261.

For more information about the April events in Eau Claire for UW-Eau Claire alumni from the Twin Cities, contact John Bachmeier at bachmejg@uwec.edu or 715-836-5189.