OSCEOLA, Wis. (WCCO) — There’s a new coalition of business and community leaders aimed at preserving jobs in western Wisconsin. It’s called “Vision 600″ and has the goal of creating 600 job opportunities in the region over the next two years.
The effort is prompted by Polaris’ decision to close two plants in Osceola by the end of 2012. When that happens, Village Administrator Neil Soltis said about 500 people will be out of work.
“If you blocked out an area of where the Polaris workers are from, it’s probably from Pine City, Minnesota over to Shell Lake, Wisconsin, down to Baldwin and over to St. Paul,” said Soltis.
He said the total economic impact of those lost jobs is not known because the ripple effect on other businesses is hard to measure.
However, there may be a silver lining to the snowmobile maker’s pull out.
“Roughly 30 to 40 percent of them (displaced Polaris workers) have an interest in starting their own businesses,” said Soltis.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Telly Mamayek Reports