How Wisconsin companies are hoping to attract recent college graduates

Many employers are having a hard time attracting recent college graduates, but some companies in Wisconsin are hoping to change that.

More than 50 representatives from Wisconsin universities and area employers are meeting in La Crosse to talk about the best ways to recruit new talent.

Employers say attracting recent graduates used to be as simple as raising salaries, but now it’s much more complicated.

Rebecca Lee, an employer outreach coordinator with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, said, “I get contacted almost daily from employers asking, ‘How can I get connected to these students?'”

Lee said there’s a big demand for students in technology and business and they don’t just want to work anywhere.

“One of the things that we hear is they (students) really want to be part of a culture, and it’s not just about going to work you’re going to be there for 40 hours a week or more, you want to be doing something that’s bigger than yourself,” Lee said.

She said the Wisconsin-Association of Colleges and Employers Inc. Spring Drive Conference is great because schools get to help find their students jobs and employers get to learn what students really want.

“It’s a one-stop shop for employers to come especially if they have locations around the state to get to talk with all of these people,” Lee said.

Jill Dequkine, a senior talent acquisition adviser with the accounting firm Clifton Larson Allen said having a strong company culture has helped it attract recent graduates.

“Your culture really sets you apart with why students want to come and do an internship with you or work with you full-time someday,” Dequkine said.

To help set CLA apart from other firms the company has even started recruiting students before they get to college.

“We start our recruiting even at a high school level so just getting our foot in the door talking with students about what a career could look like in public accounting, and staying connected with them throughout their college years,” Dequkine said.

UW-La Crosse said the biggest change in the past 10 years is students no longer just ask, “What are you doing for me?” but also, “What are you doing for the world?”

“There’s definitely been a shift. It used to be much more about what do I get paid and the direct benefits to me. It’s gotten to be much more of a community and a global perspective with our students,” Lee said.

This is the first time the event has been at UW-La Crosse since 2010.

The next conference will likely take place in the fall in the Wisconsin Dells.

The Wisconsin- Association of Colleges and Employers, Inc. is looking for more employers to join theorganization.

If you would like to learn more or join the organization, you can go to

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