‘Lighting The Way For Rural Prosperity’

The Covid-19 pandemic has emphasized the tremendous challenges, as well as the incredible opportunities, facing our rural communities. As we emerge from the dark days of the pandemic, join us for a discussion to explore best practices in addressing these challenges – the digital divide, access to healthcare and workforce shortages – and harnessing the opportunities – the reimagined workplace, the draw of our area’s natural beauty and the entrepreneurial will to emerge even stronger. Hear from United States Department of Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson about the important role agriculture still places in our rural communities and nation as a whole.

Thank you to Kwik Trip and Gundersen Health System for providing sponsorship support for this event.

Date: September 14, 2021

Time: 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Location: Western Technical College’s Lunda Center, La Crosse, WI or virtually via Zoom

Cost: Free event with lunch provided to in-person attendees (limited to 100) thanks to our sponsors

10:15 a.m. Registration

10:30 a.m. Welcome

10:45 a.m. Strategies and Best Practices to Propel our Rural Businesses and Workforce

Discussion Panel:
Patti Balacek, Director of Regional Workforce Development – Western Technical College
Marcy West, Director, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation – Office of Rural Prosperity
Mike Verdon, Trinity Fabricators
Nathan Franklin, Director, External Affairs – Gundersen Health Systems

11:45 a.m. Lunch Buffet/Break

12:15 p.m. Agriculture – Still the Center of Our Rural Economies

Lunch Keynote Presentation:
Justin Maxson, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development – United States Department of Agriculture

1:00 p.m. Foundations of Rural Development – Broadband, Education & Health Care

Discussion Panel:
Angie Dickison, Executive Director – Minnesota Office of Broadband Development
Brian Krambeer, President/CEO – MiEnergy Cooperative/ MiBroadband
Mari Freiberg, CEO – Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers
Mike Beighley, Superintendent – Whitehall School District

2:00 p.m. Conclusion