News & Media

Incourage Receives Grant to Help Area Businesses Focus on Job Quality

Tue. Feb 7, 2017

(Wisconsin Rapids, WI, Feb. 7, 2017) – Many organizations across the United States work to ensure good jobs in their communities. Some do this by investing in education, workforce training, or economic development projects. In addition to these, Incourage will now provide a new service: consulting to local employers that focuses on job quality.

Through a $50,000 National Fund for Workforce Solutions grant for its Workforce Central program, Incourage will pilot a customized job quality business assessment and improvement service. This service will help local employers improve business results by supporting them to attract, grow, and retain their workforce. The first local employer to pilot this service will be Mariani Packing Company.

Starting in February, Incourage staff and manufacturing experts will begin working with Mariani’s leadership. Together they will assess the firm’s current policies and practices, and identify opportunities to engage workers in solutions.

Steve Berlyn, Mariani General Manager, noted, “Continuous improvement and building for the future are two of Mariani’s core values. We are committed to hiring locally and providing our workers opportunities for growth and development. We are excited to work with Incourage on this project, which will help us look at our workforce design and culture from a new perspective.”

“There’s a real win-win opportunity here,” Incourage’s Jenny Riggenbach explained. “Businesses today require more than trained workers. They need teams that work well together and are ready to innovate. And in turn, workers today want employers who are committed to their community and to providing a good place to work.”

Workforce Central is one of four National Fund for Workforce Solutions partner communities awarded this grant, along with Cincinnati, Baltimore and Wichita. The National Fund promotes community prosperity built on valuing workers, supporting local employers and investing in economic growth.

“Wisconsin Rapids is a community that values work and takes great pride in our local companies,” said Kristopher Gasch, Incourage Board Chair. “We appreciate Mariani’s willingness to pilot this strategy and share its learnings with the community and our national peers.”


Media Contacts:
Carol Davis, Communications
Phone: 715.818.6179; Email: [email protected]

Jennifer Riggenbach, Workforce Central
Phone: 715.818.6177; Email: [email protected]

About Incourage:
Established in rural Wisconsin in 1994 to serve the changing needs of the south Wood County area, Incourage has become a nationally-recognized leader in place-based philanthropy and community development. Guided by values of equity, opportunity, and shared stewardship, Incourage envisions a community that works well for all people. One physical manifestation of this vision is the redevelopment of the Tribune building, which demonstrates Incourage’s resident-centered approach to growing a strong and inclusive local economy. 

About National Fund for Workforce Solutions:
The National Fund for Workforce Solutions is a national network promoting economic opportunity and prosperous communities through investment and innovation. Based in Washington D.C., the National Fund partners with philanthropy, employers, workers, public and private community organizations, and more than 30 regional collaboratives to invest in skills, improve systems, and generate good jobs. The National Fund supports civic and business leaders in promoting evidence-based practices and policies that build shared prosperity. Learn more about the National Fund and its local partners at