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Exploring Solutions to the Workforce Challenge

On April 11th and 12th, the Wisconsin Workforce Development Association (WWDA), comprised of leadership from the eleven regional workforce development boards in Wisconsin, held its annual Talent Development Conference (TDCON) in La Crosse.

The conference brought the leading voices in workforce and talent development for two days of dialogue to explore promising practices around talent attraction and retention, DEI initiatives, Wisconsin’s economic outlook, federal workforce policy updates, emerging workforce pipeline trends, and much more.

“With Wisconsin’s statewide unemployment rate reaching a record low of 2.7% and the state adding 7,500 jobs in February, the workforce development system needs to reimagine how it will deliver services to jobseekers and businesses,” stated Cindy Simons, President of Forward Careers. “As a long standing supporter of the WWDA, Forward Careers took a lead role in organizing this year’s event which was all about increasing meaningful partnerships while exploring innovative practices to promote economic revitalization in communities of any scale, rural or urban, across Wisconsin. With a positive 90% rating, I would say we collectively accomplished this!”

Attendees had the opportunity to learn from the following industry experts, business leaders, and influencers:

  • Door 1, 2 or 3 – Getting a Glimpse of Wisconsin’s Future Workforce by Rebecca Ryan, Founder, NEXT Generation Consulting, Inc. (Keynote)

  • Managing a Hybrid Workforce by Mark J. Goldstein, Attorney and Principal, Goldstein Law Group, S.C. (Keynote)

  • Federal Workforce Policy Updates by Ron Painter, President & CEO, National Association of Workforce Boards (Keynote)

  • Strengthening Our Collective Voice & Influence by Lisa Koenecke, Professional Speaker & Facilitator, Inclusion Ally (Keynote)

  • Wisconsin’s Workforce Outlook by John Koskinen, Chief Economist, Wisconsin Department of Revenue (Keynote)

  • Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Updates by Amy Pechacek, Secretary-designee - Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

  • Panel Discussion: Wisconsin Workforce Development Association with:

    1. Anthony Synder, Chief Executive Officer, Fox Valley Workforce Development Board

    2. Jane Spencer, Executive Director, North Central Workforce Development Board

    3. Mari Kay-Nabozny, Chief Executive Officer, Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board

    4. Rhonda Suda, Chief Executive Officer, Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board

    5. Seth Lentz, Executive Director, Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin

  • A Trauma-Informed Workplace by Jo Ann Hall, Dean of Economic and Workforce Development, and Mary Davies, Associate Dean of Credentialed Programming, Moraine Park Technical College

  • Building Resiliency by Kelly Bubolz, Owner/Trainer/Author, KB Training Connections LLC

  • Boomers to Zoomers – Creating a Diverse Workplace to Support a Multi-Generational Workforce by Chantel Kilmer, Business Services Consultant, Department of Workforce Development – DVR

  • Covering all the Bases: Attraction, Retention & Education by Lisa McArthur, Senior Director of Business Attraction, Envision Greater Fond du Lac

  • Cultivating a Connection in a Disconnected Workplace by Carolyn Colleen Bostrack, Founder, Acton Midwest & Fierce Foundation

  • Digging Deep into Re-Entry Programs by Becky Heth, Employment Program Manager, and Sara Bremser, Reentry Employment Coordinator, Wisconsin Department of Corrections

  • Moving from Veteran Friendly to Veteran Ready by Rebecca Deschane, Vice President of Talent Development, New North and Steven Janke, Founder & CEO, Mission Wisconsin

  • Reclaiming our Stolen Focus – Attention Management by Ivan Jay Wayne, PhD, Founder, Voyagerr

  • Recruitment, Retention, & Building a Culture of Inclusion by Dr. Pam Her, Owner & CEO, 4Chi Business Solutions, and Pam Henson, Director, Red Shoes, Inc.

  • Social Fabric: Restitching Social Connection to Attract & Retain by Jeremy Fojut, Entrepreneur, NEWaukee, Newance, & Rivet

  • Workforce Solutions Need Child Care Solutions by Erin Trondson, Early Childhood Project Manager, and Donna Jost, Early Learning Campus Manager & WI Innovation Grant Co-Director Madison College

  • Your Future Workforce by Olivia Conklin, Youth Apprenticeship Policy Analyst, Department of Workforce Development, and Britta Rotering, Consortium Regional Coordinator, La Crosse

For details about TDCON23, please visit

About Forward Careers

Forward Careers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with over 30 years of experience administering and providing employment and training services across Southeastern Wisconsin. Established in 1990, our mission is to develop a thriving workforce and strong economy by being the preferred source for career exploration, education, skills training, and employment connections to every person and business.


Forward Careers, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer & Service Provider. If you need this information in an alternate format or in your preferred language, please contact us at (262) 695-7800. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired, please contact us at or through Wisconsin Relay Service at 7-1-1. This project is 100% or partially funded by the Department of Labor Employment & Training Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act/Emergency Recovery Grant/Department of Corrections Windows to Work, US Department of Treasury; American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)/Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds: Worker Advancement Initiative, Department of Labor Pathway Home 2, Department of Children and Families - John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood, Women & Girls Fund of Waukesha County, & United Way of Washington County.


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