Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

Building a Community of Young Leaders


Wisconsin was facing a pressing demand to fill 100K+ open jobs in the state. The state was lacking in young talent to fill these roles in light of baby boomer retirement rates increasing and college graduates exiting the state to pursue careers elsewhere. 

In conjunction with the effort to attract new people to the state of Wisconsin, there needed to be an effort to develop and retain the current talent located here.


The WEDC invested in the expansion of YPWeek Wisconsin to produce healthier, more vibrant community access points for current talent to adopt and adapt to their hometowns. 



NEWaukee created YPWeek, a week-long platform for discovery, adventure and meaningful conversations about the issues that matter among young professionals. This interactive conference brought together key leaders in the community, at purposefully chosen locations that integrated the unique cultural assets with meaningful learning or social interaction. The activities engaged the next generation while educating employers on the important role these functions play in retaining their workforce.


When YPWeek began in 2012, the program featured 21 events in the city of Milwaukee and hosted nearly 1,100 participants. By 2014, the week expanded to include 34 events and over 4,000 attendees.

In 2015, YPWeek Wisconsin expanded the model used in Milwaukee to participating communities across the state with a focus on the other eight major metropolitan areas. Each participating community had the ability to showcase their own unique assets while being part of a larger, state-wide campaign, which produced over 100 events and saw over 10,000 attendees.

The following year in 2016, NEWaukee led the expansion once again to include 15 communities, 150 events and 12,000 millennial attendees. The International Economic Development Council recognized YPWeek Wisconsin with a silver award in the human capital category for its unique regional collaboration.

As further proof that this program can engage groups of a like-minded interest and serve as a catalyst for engagement in communities, YPWeek ultimately expanded to a national scale with cities around the United States leading the charge.

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