T1W: A Conference on Overcoming Barriers to Inclusivity

As we see in the headlines and in our own neighborhoods every day, our state is living through a global economic evolution marked by big data, international trade and ever-advancing technology. Wisconsin has a proud past built by farmers and manufacturers, growing and making, milking and brewing. As successive generations of immigrants joined those already working the land or running the machines, we established a well-earned reputation as a hard-working, ethical people.

Now we confront a moment when our history must match the demands of a 21st century economy. Strategies to innovate and strengthen Wisconsin’s economy necessarily begin with intentional development of our workforce and entrepreneurial leaders, a broadband movement across the state that leaves no talent idle.

That’s why we are excited to join with the UW’s Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service to launch the Toward One Wisconsin Inclusivity Conference in Milwaukee on April 11-12, 2019. We will draw the entire state into a broad-ranging conversation around workforce, housing, health, and education, with the goal to pull all our residents out of the margins and into the center of our society.

Our objective is clear: We want a Wisconsin where every resident is educated, embraced, encouraged and economically integrated in every community. In other words, no one left behind, no one pushed out on the margins, no one excluded from the prosperity and opportunity abundant across our land. That mission toward a common good reflects a commitment to respect our differences, and to seek equal political rights and equal opportunity. It includes celebrating the rich diversity in our population. That common good lays the foundation for a strong, inclusive state economy that embraces every citizen’s talents and aspirations.

The conference design is intentional: National experts will inform conference deliberations. We will do a serious inventory and mapping of the barriers and challenges to building safe, welcoming, inclusive communities that respect the unique gifts and skills every one of us brings. These can be hard topics, and we pledge to be both respectful and honest about where we’ve come from and where we hope to go together. Finally, a post-conference team will establish accountability measures of progress reflected in a statewide report card.

The conference models inclusivity by offering scholarships for community members, students and others to attend to ensure that all voices are represented. Please register to attend and consider being a sponsor by visiting inclusivity-wi.org.

Together, we will demonstrate how our state places the highest value on respect and dignity for all. Together, we will bring forward the deep talent abundant in this state, and put our collective shoulder to the wheel to navigate the changes and opportunities ahead for Wisconsin.

Toward One Wisconsin Conference Co-Chairs,
Rebecca Kleefisch | Former Lieutenant Governor
Dr. George Koonce | Senior Vice President, Marian University
Barbara Lawton | Former Lieutenant Governor
Rich Poirier | President and CEO, Church Mutual