The recent announcement that Logistics Health Incorporated will be adding 1,200 jobs as a result of federal contracts have some wondering how those jobs will be filled.
Part of the answer may lie right here with our colleges and universities.
LHI founder Don Weber has said that in order to meet the job demands of the $3 billion federal contracts, the company will need to recruit nationally and throughout the state.
But one local college is especially capable of quickly adapting to a city's needs.
Many students at Western Technical College are preparing for a career in the medical field.
It’s a place where they are uniquely prepared to tackle the challenges of a dynamic job market.
"We use EMSI economic data to help us with our projections on what programs to offer, how many students to take in, how to size our programs correctly, so we are tied to what the industry needs,” Western Technical College’s vice president of Academic Affairs Roger Stanford said.
Even before LHI's announcement, Western has been working to further develop their medical programs.
"Some of it was in place, that's probably good timing,” Stanford said. “(But) we're adding an additional section of medical assistant now that demand has recently increased."
Weber said while plenty of the 1,200 jobs will involve the medical field, there's a growing need for other services at LHI as well.
"We also have finance people, IT people, data processing, customer service, it's a broad base,” Weber said.
And that growing need from LHI is already changing the thinking at Western.
"You might have seen that they are looking for people that understand data in part of this, and so we've started a new program this past year, and they were one of the key supporters to say, as our business model grows, we need more business analysts,” Stanford said. “So we've started a brand new program related to that."
While LHI is also recruiting nationally for their expansion, Weber knows La Crosse is a good place to start.
"We've got a lot of resources behind us, and there's a lot of talent here,” Weber said.
Viterbo University also regularly meets with employers to determine employment needs in the community.
They also talked about strengthening internship programs, hoping to connect students to employers earlier in their careers.
According to Weber, 300 of the 1,200 jobs will be filled by the end of December.
As part of the federal contracts, the rest of those jobs must be filled by next October.