YPWeek Wisconsin kicks off on Saturday

As approximately 9,000 people between age 21 and 40 leave Wisconsin each year, according to figures from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Newaukee is banding together with other young professional groups in the state to begin reversing that brain drain.

The social architecture firm, based in Milwaukee, will spend all of next week touting the assets the state has to offer for the millennial generation during the first-of-its-kind YPWeek Wisconsin.

The YP extravaganza, scheduled for Saturday, April 11, through Saturday, April 18, will unravel with just shy of 100 events in eight cities, which along with Milwaukee, include Fond du Lac, Fox Cities, Green Bay, Kenosha, Madison, Sheboygan and Wausau.

Newaukee expects to draw about 10,000 millennials.

The goal of the week builds on past YPWeek events Newaukee has facilitated in Milwaukee – exhibiting “what it means to be a young professional in the state of Wisconsin,” said Angela Damiani, president of Newaukee.

After Newaukee pulled off successful YPWeek events in the city the last three years, and managed to grow the event’s programming each year, WEDC approached the organization about launching an event that would put the entire state on display, according to Damiani.

While Newaukee initially imagined linking three other cities into the event this year, the excitement and enthusiasm of young professional groups in additional cities doubled its scope. Damiani and her team guided organizations in participating cities in assessing their assets and crafting YP events that would bring out the very best of their cities’ offerings.

Along with highlighting the state’s selling points to millennials – which Damiani said includes access to jobs, a variety of natural resources and cultural resources, and top sports teams – the week’s events will celebrate the strengths of individual cities.

They will also allow young professionals to tap into the minds of some of the state and country’s emerging and accomplished leaders. That ease of access to public and private leaders is another unique selling point of Wisconsin, Damiani said.

In Milwaukee, YPWeek participants will be able to hear from leaders such as Darienne Driver, superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools; Victoria Rogers, art and photography outreach lead at Kickstarter; Damiani and her colleague, Ian Abston; Dr. Nick Turkal, president and chief executive officer of Aurora Health Care; and Eric Resch, president and founder of Stone Creek Coffee.

Milwaukee millennials will also have a chance to take part in a reverse job fair during YPWeek as well as tour studios of local artists, check out the Milwaukee Ballet behind the scenes, participate in a morning yoga class, and learn how the Water Council is positioning the region as a leader in water research and technology.

A complete lineup of Milwaukee events can be found at www.ypweek.com/calendar. Many of the featured events will be livestreamed.

Looking beyond next week, Damiani said the state’s coalition of young professional groups – the only coalition of its kind – will continue to meet to discuss ways the state can position itself as an ideal place for millennials and engage young professionals with its assets.

Future YPWeeks may involve cities outside Wisconsin as Newaukee’s efforts attract the attention of cities like Lincoln, Neb., which is sending representatives to Wisconsin next week to observe YPWeek in action.

“We’re fully committed to this being a long-term expansion,” Damiani said.

For more information on YPWeek events, visit www.ypweek.com. All events are free and open to young professionals and individuals who are “young at heart,” Damiani said.

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