University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Employment Imperative: Tackling Workforce Challenges


If you’ve noticed challenges with hiring employees in the last few years, you are not alone. Businesses across the state of Wisconsin have struggled with recruitment and hiring in a wide range of industries, and a variety of environmental, historical, and economic factors have lead us to these challenges.

In this session, we’ll translate regional data into your day-to-day by understanding how long-term trends are impacting the current labor market and how one local business is responding.

As part of the University of Wisconsin-Extension Center for Community and Economic Development, Matt Kures specializes in researching regional economic analysis, labor force, socioeconomic impact analysis, and industry sector competitiveness. For this presentation, Matt will focus on precipitating factors and impacts, such as: labor-force participation, employment by industry, population demographics and migration, automation/computerization, and more.

From there, Todd Spencer, V.P. of Human Resources at TriEnda Corporation will share his corporate perspective, including challenges he has seen as an employer, how employee recruitment has shifted since the start of the pandemic, addressing employee motivation and company culture, and more.

  • 1:30-1:40 Steve Sobiek, Director, Business Development & Planning for the City of Portage
  • 1:40-2:45 Matt Kures, Community Development Institute at the UW-Madison, Division of Extension
  • 2:45-3:15 Todd Spencer, V.P. of Human Resources at TriEnda Corporation
  • 3:15-3:30 Q&A

This event was developed by the Innovation Champions Group (ICG) with Columbia, Sauk, and Marquette Counties in mind; however, any Wisconsin business is welcome to attend.


Schedule & location: 1:30-3:30 pm CST live virtual event via Zoom

Date: November 9, 2021

Fee: No cost

Click to Register

This session is being hosted by:

  • City of Portage Business Development and Planning Department
  • Columbia County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) & Tourism
  • Marquette County Economic Development/Tourism
  • Madison College
  • Madison Region Economic Development (MadREP)
  • Sauk County Development Corporation (SCDC)
  • UW Extension Columbia County
  • UW Extension Sauk County
  • Wisconsin SBDC at UW-Madison

Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the UW-Madison SBDC office at to request accommodations or to ask general questions about the SBDC, classes and consulting.


Matt Kures is a Distinguished Community Development Specialist with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of Extension.  He carries out the Wisconsin Idea by assisting communities and organizations through economic development policy evaluation, labor force research and regional competitiveness analysis. Matt has worked at the University of Wisconsin since 2001.  During this time he has authored numerous studies on Wisconsin’s economy and has made frequent presentations to local, regional and national audiences. Matt was a regular contributor to the Capitol Region Business Journal and his work is featured in numerous other business and economic development publications.  Matt was named to “Madison’s 40 Under 40” by In Business magazine.  In 2016, he received the Outstanding Specialist Award from UW-Extension’s Community, Natural Resource and Economic Development program.  Matt has a B.S. and an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Todd Spencer is the Vice President of Human Resources at the TriEnda/Penda Corporation in Portage, where he has served in the role since 2017. Todd enjoys building teams, working with people, developing leaders, and engaging associates to improve their work experience to drive results. Before his current role, Todd had several roles at Flambeau, Inc. in Baraboo, including: Vice President of Human Resources and Vice President of Supply Chain. In addition, Todd is a former technology education teacher at Wisconsin Dells High School, where he taught construction, cabinetry, graphic arts, printing, video production and entrepreneurship. Todd holds a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from UW-Stout.