Young Professionals come together to share vision for community

La Crosse Area Chamber releases results from Young Professionals brainstorming session

The results of last week’s Young Professionals visioning session find that although there is plenty to love about La Crosse, there is room for improvement.

About 40 members of the Young Professionals of the Coulee Region discussed how to attract, maintain and grow young professional talent in the region, and what improvements they’d like to see in the next five to 10 years.

“They are the future of our community,” said Bobbi Schoh, Young Professionals Director for the La Crosse Chamber of Commerce. “It is really important as our workforce generations change, (to involve) these young professionals into our businesses.”

The chamber defines a young professional as anyone between the ages of 21 and 40 working in any type of business.

The results released Tuesday show that they believe that there is plenty to attract people to the region, including the surrounding nature and its small-town feel.

“I love that feeling that people know you and care about you and care about your well-being,” said Jennifer Pintz, a chiropractor in La Crescent.

“It’s a small town with some of the big-city amenities, so it’s just a good mix overall,” Realtor Dillon Bean said.

The findings from the brainstorming session show that the group would like to see increased access to the river and other nature outlets, including the bluffs and hiking trails.

“I think that’s one of the things that will take our community from good to great is having more access to those things like the river and the bluffs,” Pintz said.

The young professionals also brought up increasing access to housing for their age group.

“I’ve had friends here that unfortunately want to stay here, but the way the job market is and the housing market, it’s not ideal for them,” Bean said. “We have no problem getting people here, but going forward I think our focus should be keeping people here.”

The results showed that continuing small shop and restaurant development and increasing mentorships were important to the group, but according to the professionals, getting together to have a conversation was just as essential.

“I think (it’s important) to open up and have a frank discussion about what the needs are, (and) at the same time being appreciative of what we have and to come together as a group,” said Ajay Jayakumar, a value analyst at Mayo Clinic Health System.

“I think letting the community know that we’re here just to improve and help things grow and make our community even better than it already is (is important),” Pintz said.

There are currently about 150 members of the Young Professionals group in the region. Next week is Young Professionals Week in the state, and a calendar of events can be found on YPWeek’s website.