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S. Mark Tyler, founder and president of OEM Fabricators, Inc. in Woodville, was the featured speaker Thursday at St. Croix EDC’s 2014 Business of the Year banquet at R&D Catering in New Richmond. Tyler spoke about workforce development in the region and the importance of considering population demographics from birth to retirement. Businesses are struggling to find qualified employees, said Tyler. “Every imaginable short-term solution is being tried, and so far it’s not solving the problem. It’s time to stop looking short-term and solve these problems once and for all.” Tyler underscored the critical need to invest in the future workforce today, ending with the presentation of a $10,000 joint check to Mary Sue Ash, coordinator of United Way Success By 6, from OEM Fabricators, Inc. and Bremer Bank CEO Dan Draxler.
Tyler has long been a proponent of programs for local families, as a volunteer and past Board Member of the Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley as well as numerous other education and advocacy initiatives in the region. Draxler has served on the United Way St. Croix Valley Board of Directors for many years and is the current President. Both Tyler and Draxler joined the Success By 6 Executive Board in 2014.
“Bremer Bank believes in building strong and healthy communities through partnerships,” said Draxler. “Investing in Success By 6 not only improves the overall health of our community, but will have a great impact on our future workforce, which is a key economic driver for businesses and our economy.”
The vision of Success By 6 states that “All children in our communities by age six, with the strong support of family and community, will have the necessary physical, mental, emotional and social development to successfully grow and learn.” Support for families often begins prenatally, with the overall goal of providing a comprehensive system of information and support until school entry. Current partners include Amery Hospital & Clinic, Baldwin Area Medical Center, Osceola Medical Center, River Falls Area Hospital, St. Croix Regional Medical Center, and Westfields Hospital & Clinic, as well as Family Resource Center St. Croix Valley and several area school districts. The Executive Board has developed the broader goal that “Every child in Western Wisconsin reaches school ready to learn and reaches adulthood ready to contribute to society,” and is seeking new support to increase access to programs.
For more information on Success By 6, contact United Way St. Croix Valley at 715-377-0203 or www.unitedwaystcroix.org.