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New North initiative receives WEDA Award for talent development

NEW BOOST™ connects individuals with resources to build basic computer skills, secure employment

WEDA award presentationNew North Inc., the regional economic development corporation for the 18 counties of Northeast Wisconsin, was the recipient of a 2023 Community and Economic Development Award (CEDA) from the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA). New North was recognized in the Talent Attraction, Development and Retention category for its NEW BOOST™ for Hidden Talent initiative.

The award was accepted by Rebecca Deschane, New North vice president of talent development, and Laura Jones, social and community outreach service director with African Heritage Inc. at the annual CEDA Awards ceremony, held Sept. 28 in Wausau as part of WEDA’s Fall Best Practices Conference.

The CEDA Awards were established by WEDA to recognize economic development projects and programs, as well as businesses and organizations that are making significant contributions to Wisconsin’s economy.

“Economic development is vital to new growth and prosperity across Wisconsin,” says WEDA President and CEO Mary Perry. “It helps build robust business ecosystems, boosts productivity, creates jobs and strengthens communities, but the hard work of economic development often flies under the radar. The CEDA Awards provide a much-needed opportunity to celebrate economic development and the accomplishments of so many hard-working Wisconsinites. I want to congratulation each CEDA finalist and winner and thank them for their commitment to advancing the Wisconsin economy.”

The NEW BOOST™ (Building Opportunities for Overlooked Sustainable Talent) for Hidden Talent initiative is designed to connect individuals from across Northeast Wisconsin with resources that allow them to build their basic computer skills. Initially piloted to assist people disconnected from traditional workforce development services, a recently launched website expanded access to anyone looking to enhance their digital competency, connect with community-resource partners and explore new employment opportunities.

The NEW BOOST™ initiative was funded through grants from Bay Area Workforce Development (BAWDB) and Microsoft Philanthropies, in partnership with African Heritage Inc. and AbaCor, an Abaxent company. Community partners with the initiative include Appleton Pentecostal Assembly, Back to the Basics Tutoring, Casa Hispana, College of Menominee Nation, Family Resource Center-Sheboygan County, Fox Valley Literacy, Literacy Green Bay, and We All Rise African American Resource Center.

WEDA award“We thank WEDA for recognizing the achievements of the NEW BOOST™ initiative among all of the great economic-development work happening in Wisconsin,” says Barb LaMue, president and CEO of New North Inc. “We know that functional digital skills are critical to success in today’s workplace, and are pleased that this community partnership has proven to be a successful resource that leads to meaningful, fulfilling employment for those disconnected from traditional workforce development services and anyone looking to enhance their digital competency. My appreciation goes out to Rebecca Deschane, our vice president of talent development, who coordinated the initiative, along with all of our partners, particularly BAWDB, Microsoft, African Heritage and Abaxent.”

For more information on available programming or to learn how you can partner in upskilling opportunities, please visit www.newboost.org or email Deschane at [email protected].


New North, Inc., is a 501(c)3 non-profit, regional economic development corporation fostering collaboration among private and public sector leaders throughout the 18 counties of Northeast Wisconsin, known as the New North region. The New North brand unites the region both internally and externally around talent development, brand promotion and business development, signifying the collective economic power behind the 18 counties. The counties include Outagamie, Winnebago, Calumet, Waupaca, Brown, Shawano, Oconto, Marinette, Door, Kewaunee, Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Florence, Menominee and Waushara. www.thenewnorth.com