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Goal 1: Attract & Retain Newcomers to the Area

Interim Goal Captain: Ken Warner

Volunteer Force: +60

Subgroup Team Leads: Andy Boersma, Dean Bouta, Tom Gilbertson and Naomi Mahler

Goal Progress Reports:   Click Here

 

This goal is focused on brining in new folks and retaining the people and business we have here in the Willmar Lakes Area. 

 

In order to achieve this, Goal One established specific areas on which to focus their energy.

 

Goal 1: Expanding Broadband & Wifi Goal 1: Diversity & First Generation Immigrants
Goal 1: Connect & Concierge Goal 1: Housing

 

 

Expanding Broadband & Wifi

According to most recent data, about 7,600 premises in Kandiyohi County are considered unserved or underserved when it comes to broadband. This sub-goal is designed to help increase access to broadband and Wifi in Kandiyohi County. Through our work on Wifi hotspots that were installed at Willmar Public Schools, New London Spicer school busses, the United Way of West Central Minnesota GrowMobile, Central Community Transit (Kandiyohi and Renville transit) and the Willmar Civic Center, in addition to the continued work on broadband development in our area, we hope to achieve this goal. 

 

Diversity & First Generation Immigrants

This sub-goal hopes to improve the experience of immigrants to the Willmar Lakes Area, especially first generation immigrants. Diversity is a large part of our area and ensuring that everyone in our community has a positive experience is important. Our group focuses on facilitating events to help achieve this. We've offered informative sessions like Brain Gain for Rural Minnesota as well as events like the Cross-Cultural Conversation, Hack2O, An Evening of Stories, An Evening of Stories II, Green Card Voices: Local Immigrants Exhibit and a Lunch-N-Learn Pilot with Three Willmar Young Adults from Somalia. 

 

Connect & Concierge

Our initative focuses on connecting people, especially newcomers, to the Willmar Lakes Area community. This is why we've created the Interest Inventory Form. The form was designed to help connect new people moving to the area to organizations, people and interests in the Willmar Lakes Area. Through the interest form, newcomers will receive a personal connection via phone, text, email or in-person (per their preference). The group is currently working on making the public aware of the interest form's availability. Future plans include hosting a few gathering events throughout the year to bring all users of the Interest Inventory and Connect & Concierge together.

 

Housing

This sub-goal is to develop affordable housing options in the Willmar Lakes Area. We focus on increasing the supply of housing options for entry level workers, multigenerational families, and students. The reason this is our goal is we found many businesses have trouble finding good, qualified workers who live in the area or if they recruit someone to the are the new employee cannot find house for 1-3 years making a major purchase like a home or saving up for a down payment. This is because rental units are at a 99% occupied rate for rental housing in the area. This high occupancy rate has spilled over into the housing which had been set aside for students in college. The other need is 5+ bedroom housing for the changing multigenerational family where grandparents may live with the sandwhich generation or even aunts and uncles under one household.

 

Learn more about the Kandiyohi County Housing Study that was conducted by reading this article by the West Central Tribune and view the results of the housing study here.

Get Involved

Help us make the Willmar Lakes Area a better place! Join your neighbors, friends and coworkers as we work together to Attract & Retain more awesome people to the area. Click here to Get Involved!

Testimonials
From our community volunteers

“I'm honored to be part of Vision 2040 and the team that is forging the future of the Willmar Lakes Area community. We are a strong vibrant community that works hard and works together through partnerships and collaborative efforts. This spark of leadership for this is caused by people willing to risk failure to reach for success. We have seen there's no limit to what a group can do if the individuals don't care who gets the credit.”

Ken Warner, Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce

I am excited to make a difference and feel confident to do so!

Alumni, Inaugural Class of 2015

“I'm proud to volunteer and support the efforts of Vision 2040 because creating a healthy community takes a collabortive effort. No one person or entity can create a community where people want to live and work and play, but working together we can create it. Vision 2040 started with an inclusive effort to bring together people from across our region to articulate their vision of the future of our region's communities. The goals that emerged from that vision offer everyone the opportunity to share in the collaborative work necessary to create a healthy and vibrant region--and that's a good thing for all of us.”

Dr. Douglas Allen, Ridgewater College
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