Madison Region Economic Partnership President and CEO, Jason Fields, and Vice President of Talent and Education, Gene Dalhoff, went on “Your Talk Show” with Tim Bremel of WCLO, a radio station based in Janesville with a signal extending to most of the Madison Region. The three discussed MadREP’s new workplace vanpooling pilot program and the state-instituted Main Street Bounce Back program, among other economic development topics.
To help small business owners, MadREP, in partnership with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, has been granting $10,000 to eligible business owners who locate or relocate to a vacant space. This program was recently extended to the end of the year, and grants will continue to be disbursed on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds have been disbursed. While these grants can be a big help to any business, Jason Fields believes that they could be even more impactful when combined with access to the resources and knowledge necessary to maintain a sustainable business, and he plans to supplement this program in the future.
MadREP also discussed their partnership with Enterprise to begin offering workplace vanpooling to businesses in the Madison region. VP of Talent and Education, Gene Dalhoff, was inspired by Dodge County cheese producer, Paul Scharfman, who created a vanpool program for his business to galvanize the rural workforce that wanted to work, but just couldn’t find reliable transportation. Scharfman started his venture in 2018 to transport workers in the rural surrounding area to his business in Reeseville, a town of approximately 700 residents. The cheese producer’s innovative strategy found him all the employees he needed, as well as a waitlist of people wanting to work for him.
MadREP is looking to recreate Specialty Cheese’s success throughout their eight counties, starting with a pilot program of a handful of vans subsidized by MadREP. Our hope is for the program to reach 100 vans to help businesses and workers in the region who are experiencing challenges with transportation, a win-win proposition for the Madison Region.