About / Get Involved / Contact Us / Login

Goal 2: Strengthen the Region's Economic Vitality

Goal Captains: Joanna Schrupp and Leslie Valiant

Volunteer Force: 44

Goal Progress Reports:   Click Here


Economic Vitality focuses on strengthening economic opportunities throughout the region.


In order to achieve this, Goal Two established one sub goal and four other areas of focus:



Goal Two: Manufacturing Goal Two: Learning and Earning Goal Two: Expanding Middle and High Skill Jobs
Goal Two: Economic Progress and Job Growth Goal Two: Opportunities For Entrepreneurs  



Here are a few of the things they’ve accomplished:

EDC Business Retention and Expansion Study 

A study was initiated by the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar EDC and the Willmar Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce Grow MN! Team to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Demonstrate support for local businesses
  • Help solve immediate business concerns
  • Increase local businesses’ ability to compete in the global economy
  • Establish and implement a strategic plan for economic development
  • Build capacity to sustain growth and development


Sixty convention, retail, tourism and service industry businesses and 22 manufacturing businesses were interviewed. 

There are a number of groups currently working on projects as a result of this study. 

Learn more about those projects on the Willmar Lakes Area Vision 2040 website in this blog or contact the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar EDC for more information.

Boomtown USA Event 

Sixty seven community members attended the Boomtown USA event held in September 2015.  The event featured Craig Lindvahl who shared the 7 ½ Steps to Big Success in Small Towns based on the book by Jack Schultz which included the following seven keys to small town viability:

  • Key #1: Adopt a Can-Do Attitude
  • Key #2: Shape Your Vision
  • Key #3: Leverage Your Resources
  • Key #4: Raise Up Strong Leaders
  • Key #5: Encourage an Entrepreneurial Spirit
  • Key #6: Maintain Local Control
  • Key #7: Build Your Brand

Mr. Lindvahl also discussed how to engage millennials in the process and other tips based on his book Things You Wish You Knew Yesterday: And Other Stuff You Need To Know Tomorrow. 


Learn more about the Boomtown USA event in the blog on the Vision 2040 website.

Inner City Leadership Tour to Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead 

A group of 23 people from the Willmar Lakes Area spent two days visiting Fargo in October 2015 to learn from this successful community some tips on achieving our goals. They attended panels, explored the downtown, industrial park, housing and university sections of Fargo. They learned several takeaways that will help the Willmar area move our communities forward including these points of consideration:

  • Willmar is a Regional Center, like Fargo, how do we start to act like one? What does that look like?
  • Willmar and Kandiyohi County have many bright spots and we need to concentrate on our opportunities.
  • How do we capitalize on our assets?


For more takeaways and information on the Inner City Leadership Tour, read this blog on the Vision 2040 website.


Other achievements:

•Hosted Robert Valdez, Director of WAMM who discussed WAMM training for entrepreneurs.
•Hosted Cathy Baumgartner, Central MN Jobs in Training Services who discussed how employers and the public and use their services to post jobs, find workers and create training.
•Hosted Julie Redepenning, Business Services in Central and Southwest MN from DEED who discussed her role as encouraging the creation and retention of high quality jobs through business growth.
•Hosted Dr. Douglas Allen, President of Ridgewater College and Sam Bowen, Dean of Customized Training at Ridgewater College who discussed the benefits of Ridgewater’s training programs to fill gaps in skills.
•Continues to offer opportunities to attend programing like DEED’s Workforce Seminar to continue education on workforce issues.

Moving forward, Goal #2 is looking to create an interest in manufacturing firms by developing manufacturing awareness in the month of October via schools, public and private entities. They will also be working collaboratively with Goal #4 to start 1 Million Cup and continue the Intercity Leadership Visits.



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!

From our community volunteers

“We are proud to be part of the Vision 2040 effort here at the community foundation because it aligns with our core mission to engage people, connect resources and build community. It was an easy choice to invest not only financial resources to support Vision 2040 but also to lend significat board and staff time to help drive this effort forward. It's transforming our communities for the future our residents dream about-using their ideas and energies to make good things happen organically in real time and for years to come-and we want to be part of making that possible!”

Sara Carlson, Willmar Area Community Foundation

“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

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

Alumni, Inaugural Class of 2015
Recent Article Posts
Keeping You In The Loop
What's on your MNyou?
MNyou, pronounced menu, is a group of young leaders from the Willmar region whose focus is on community health and local food. ...
Volunteers Needed for Playground Build
We need you! The Willmar Playground committee is in need of volunteers! Register today!...
Patty Wetterling at Life Connections
Patty Wetterling is the featured speaker at the Life Connections event taking place at the Willmar Civic Center on Friday, April 21st at noon. The event...
Community Conversation About Difference at Ridgewater College
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. In a world that seems increasingly fragmented and where our differences frequently divide us, this will...
WeLEAD April - Seize Your Life: How to Carpe Diem Every Day
Join us for the April 19th, 2017 WeLEAD event featuring Jasmine Brett Stringer, principal and founder of lifestyle brand "Carpe Diem with Jasmine"....