Friday, March 27, 2015
United Way of Washington County determined to improve work ethic of future workforce
March 27, 2015 11:24 AM
Under a new business model that positions United Way of Washington County as a community problem solver and a convener, the nonprofit organization is pivoting much of its focus toward a solution for the county's workforce crisis.

With a particular concern for connecting youth and young adults with meaningful employment opportunities, United Way is in the midst of developing a strategy to ensure workers in that population bring a strong work ethic to their employers.

A lack of work ethic is among the top barriers individuals face in being work ready, according to feedback United Way collected from area human resources professionals and a cross sector of employers.

Two years ago, prior to seeking that feedback, the West Bend-based nonprofit organization headed community conversations with a variety of agencies and business leaders to gather input on top issues and needs in the county. Five priorities emerged: Transportation, drugs and alcohol, services for youth, employment, and financial resources. After additional consultation with community stakeholders, United Way prioritized employment as the county’s most pressing issue.

From there, the organization surveyed area human resources personnel and a variety of employers to gain insight on the top barriers to work readiness. Of all barriers considered, including lack of transportation, childcare, drug and alcohol abuse and criminal backgrounds, poor work ethic was deemed the most significant barrier.

United Way’s attention to work ethic factors into a broader county initiative carried forward by the Washington County Economic Development Corporation. The organization is concerned with ensuring that the county’s next generation workforce can adequately take over for a wave of workers on the cusp of retirement.

“We are just one initiative under a much larger initiative in our county, and it’s exciting how we’re coming together,” said Kristin Brandner, executive director of United Way of Washington County.   

In forging ahead with a focus on work ethic, United Way convened an employment strategy team, composed of employers, case managers and educators, that has been meeting since last October. The team first identified 12 competencies that indicate how strong or weak an employee is in their work ethic, such as time management, punctuality and the ability to communicate effectively. The strategy team also determined that its efforts will best serve youth and young adults ages 16 to 24 who are not in school or working as well as individuals of that age group who may be in school or working part time.

Come next month, United Way will issue a request for proposal to the community, challenging area agencies to devise programming that can adequately measure individual employees’ development of work ethic competencies.

Examples of programming could involve the development of a training program or the creation of a competency portfolio for young adults, according to Brandner.

The organization will look for proposals that rely on collaboration among nonprofits, schools and other entities. Projects within proposals must also be able to be implemented in workplaces across Washington County, she said.

Collaboration has been a key theme in addressing the need for stronger work ethic throughout the county, with the Washington County Workforce Alliance stepping forward as a key partner.

The workforce alliance, which formed about two years ago, has combined the expertise of employers, educators and the county’s district administrators to address a “growing concern” among employers and economic development groups as baby boomers rapidly approach retirement and new employees are needed in their place, according to Tom Hostad, chair of the alliance.

Hostad, also executive director of the Hartford Area Development Corporation and a board member of United Way of Washington County, has stood as the link between the alliance and United Way. He echoed United Way’s concern in the work ethic of the county’s youngest employees.

“Not only are employers having difficulty hiring, but there’s a growing sense of frustration with the quality of the individual who is coming to apply for a job,” Hostad said, adding that the workforce alliance will likely assume much of the responsibility in monitoring the progress of the program proposals selected by United Way.

The nonprofit will likely fund one or two projects over a 27-month period. The organization aims to announce selected projects in August and will hold an informational meeting for interested applicants on Thursday, April 9, at Moraine Park Technical College, 700 Gould St. in Beaver Dam.

United Way of Washington County’s recent focus on workforce development is part of a new business model it has adopted – one that accentuates its role as a community problem solver and a convener tackling the root cause of community concerns.

“It’s really targeting key local issues and addressing those by getting at the root cause of those issues,” Brandner said, emphasizing that input from across the community is needed for sustainable solutions.

“That’s where you’re really going to have change,” she said.

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New Jesuit president to take over Marquette High in 2016
March 27, 2015 11:27 AM
Rev. Michael Marco, S.J., has been named the 11th president of Marquette University High School, following unanimous approval from the Marquette University High School board of directors and the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus.

Marco, whose appointment is effective July 1, 2016, will take over for Rev. Warren Sazama, S.J., who plans to wrap up his tenure on June 30, 2016 after nine years as Marquette High’s president. Marco will serve the school as president-elect during the 2015-16 school year.

The Ad Hoc President Transition Committee pinpointed the “best candidate” for its next president, Bruce Arnold, the school’s board chair, said in a press release.

“It was not only our hope to find the most qualified person to be our next president, but also to continue our 158-year tradition of having the school’s top leadership position be held by a Jesuit priest,” Arnold said. “We are thrilled to have both.”

Marco has more than 20 years of experience in Jesuit secondary education, and his career includes 10 years of serving as president of two other Jesuit high schools. He has worked as special assistant to the president at Marquette High since 2013, and prior to that role, was president of Georgetown Preparatory School in Maryland for about three years. Marco previously served as president of Walsh Jesuit High School in Ohio for about seven years and, before that leadership position, taught theology at Creighton Preparatory High School in Nebraska. Marco also served as department chair, director of campus ministry and assistant to the president at Creighton High, where he spent a total of about six years.

During the early days of his career, Marco taught psychology and theology at Marquette High as well as coached baseball for the school.

He completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Creighton University and earned a teacher certification from Marquette University. He also completed a master’s degree in religious education at Boston College, a master of divinity degree at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and studied philosophy at Saint Louis University as he prepared to be ordained.

“These are exciting times at Marquette University High School, and I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to lead a high school with such a rich Jesuit history and strong Catholic tradition,” Marco said. “Father Sazama is leaving Marquette High in a very strong position, and I am confident that along with the entire Marquette High community we will continue to be an institution that honors faith, scholarship and community in all that we do.”

Sazama, who graduated from Marquette High in 1964, has been part of the school’s staff for more than 25 years. As Sazama approaches age 70, the Wisconsin Province will give him a new assignment.

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Cover story: Employers have a stake in the urgent need for mental health care
March 27, 2015 11:29 AM
Mental health conditions affect millions of Americans, with more than 25 percent of people in any given year experiencing some kind of anxiety, depression or other condition, according to Mental Health America.

The ensuing fatigue, loss of energy, persistent sadness and more not only impact personal lives, but also carry over into professional lives with a loss of concentration, absenteeism and short-term disability.

Experts say employers need to understand that they, too, have a stake in addressing this burgeoning mental health crisis.

Read more in the cover story of the new issue of BizTimes Milwaukee.

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Volunteers ready to roll at PGA Championship
March 27, 2015 11:32 AM
The PGA of America announced this week that all volunteer positions for the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits have been filled, with approximately 3,400 volunteers set to represent 42 states and five countries during the August 10-16 event in Haven, Wis.

Volunteer assignments were made on a first-come, first-served basis. Positions range from working on-course as a marshal to assisting with merchandise sales in the stunning new 36,000-square-foot merchandise facility known as the Championship Shops.

“In addition to the world’s best golfers, the PGA of America is thrilled to welcome a world-class group of volunteers to the 2015 PGA Championship,” said 2015 PGA Championship director Jason Mengel. “Without assistance from more than 3,000 volunteers, it would not be possible to execute this Major Championship, and we are excited to not only have their support, but to provide them with a memorable experience as well.”

New this year, individuals who volunteer for the PGA Championship and complete all assigned and required shifts will earn the opportunity to register as a volunteer for the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits prior to the general public.

Golf enthusiasts are invited to whet their appetites for the event by attending “2015 PGA Championship: A Major Partnership,” a preview to be presented by BizTimes Media and The PGA of America. The preview will take place Tuesday, April 28, in the Pilot House at Pier Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

The preview will feature a live discussion with Peter Bevacqua, chief executive officer of the PGA of America, and David Kohler, president and chief operating officer of Kohler Co. and general chairman of the 2015 PGA Championship. Bevacqua and Kohler will discuss the economic impact of hosting the PGA Championship in Wisconsin and the emergence of the state as a national major golf Mecca.

To register to attend the preview, visit

For those interested in attending the 2015 PGA Championship as a spectator, limited ticket and hospitality options remain available. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

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BizTimes Around Town: LBWN Executive Breakfast
March 27, 2015 11:34 AM
Layton Boulevard West Neighbors, Inc. celebrated the neighborhood development progress it has made in the last two decades during its 2015 Executive Breakfast, held March 19 at Alverno College. The event, in its ninth year, highlighted LBWN's 20th anniversary while also calling attention to the nonprofit's pool of stakeholders. LBWN, founded by the School Sisters of St. Francis, has leveraged more than $40 million in neighborhood investments throughout its history. The breakfast event included networking, remarks from community leaders and public officials, and a panel discussion featuring insight from neighborhood residents.

Check out BizTimes’ Around Town gallery of the event here.

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BizTimes Media 2015 Giving Guide
March 27, 2015 11:35 AM
BizTimes Media’s fifth annual Giving Guide serves the region’s business community as a vehicle to engage with area nonprofit organizations and discover opportunities for philanthropic involvement.

The Giving Guide features the missions, fundraising efforts, and giving opportunities of more than 50 regional nonprofits filling a diversity of needs.

To view BizTimes’ Giving Guide, visit

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Erica Breunlin BizTimes Nonprofit Weekly is compiled by BizTimes Milwaukee reporter Erica Breunlin. This bulletin is published every Friday morning. Send news tips to or call her at (414) 336-7121.

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