We have gathered important information about the local labor market to help job seekers understand the current trends in the NorthCentral Region. Check back regularly for updates and a new article every month. 

Career Services

Our Career Services Team specializes in our local labor market. They have formed connections with local employers to facilitate opportunities for FSET customers. They also work with labor market experts to gather the best information available about the trends in the NorthCentral Region.

CSS Team

 Kailey Holloway Alvarado

 Career Services Specialist

 (Adams, Portage, Wood)

 (715) 315 - 0191



 Megan Stanchik

 Career Services Specialist

 (Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida,   Vilas)

 (715) 216 - 0144


Let's Talk Labor Market 19-05

$7.25 is now 12 Years Old

Congress last raised the minimum wage in May 2007, with an effective date of 7/24/2009. It has been 12 years since that congressional action, the longest period without a federal minimum wage increase since a minimum wage law was adopted in 1938.


Until the 1980s, federal minimum wage increased about every five years. Since then, the gaps between increases continues to expand.


Federal minimum wage standards require employers across the country to pay minimum wage (there are lower wage standards for tipped, agriculture and teen workers). All but four states have adopted specific state minimum wage standards.

Wisconsin is one of only 16 states that has kept the $7.25 minimum wage, whereas 30 states have established a higher minimum wage that employers must follow.


Although minimum wage remains at $7.25, many entry-level jobs in Wisconsin pay more because there is a labor shortage. The fast food industry was one of the first to raise starting wages because they were not able to recruit enough employees. 


Should you settle for minimum wage? That depends on your situation. If you are a 16-year old looking for your first job in a limited labor market (i.e. rural or small town), minimum wage may be fine as gaining experience is more important than the wage. But, if you are 26 (or any adult), minimum wage will likely not be enough to pay basic living expenses.


FSET works with customers to develop a career path and find employers who provide both good opportunities and higher wages. Our Career Services Team has developed dozens of employer relationships to help facilitate direct connections between customers and local employers. Contact us today to find out  more!


For more information on minimum wage, check out the Department of Labor website.

To see more Let's Talk Labor Market articles, go to our Archives.


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Top FSET Employers

The following are 3 of the employers who have hired the largest number of FSET customers in 2018. 

Infinity Foods, formerly known as both Infinity Foods and McCain Foods, combined operations to become Infinity Foods on August 1, 2018. Since that time, Infinity has hired 8 FSET customers from both Wood and Portage County. Most of these employments took place during the month of October, and the CSS team expects the number of FSET customers hired at Infinity to continue to go up. 

Nicolet Staffing, a staffing and employment agency with locations in Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point, is hiring for the Eastbay/Footlocker holiday season. Nicolet is offering their seasonal employees transportation from Stevens Point to Eastbay in Wausau in order to accommodate Eastbay's large seasonal push. 12 FSET customers have been employed through Nicolet since the beginning of 2018, with an continued expected increase towards the end of the year. 


Badger State Staffing has locations that service the NorthCentral FSET Program in Marshfield, Wisconsin Rapids & Stevens Point. With 36 employments for FSET customers during 2018 (so far!), Badger State Staffing is a go-to employment agency for anyone who's looking for quick and simple placement with an employer. Badger State Staffing specializes in jobs in production, construction, administrative jobs and so many more! Several FSET customers have gone on to be hired on directly with the company of their choice.

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Employer Spotlight


QPS Employment Group opened their doors in 1985 with one simple truth:

The right job has the power to change lives. 

It turned out to be a pretty good foundation for success. Thirty years later, they've grown from a one-room office in suburban Milwaukee to nearly 50 branches in five Midwestern states. 


Along the way, they haven’t forgotten what fueled that growth which was their founding commitment to “Do Right” by others, secure in the knowledge that they will in turn “Do Right” by them.  It’s a big reason why their customer retention rate consistently beats the industry average.


QPS doesn’t refer to their customers as “temps”. Rather, they refer to them as Associate Employees in order to embrace the idea that an honest day’s work in exchange for a fair day’s wage brings dignity to a person’s life. This motto is also why everyone on their team, from the branch level through corporate headquarters, goes the extra mile to help each other succeed.  You've heard it said that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.  At QPS, they couldn’t agree more.


QPS Employment Group works closely with the Northcentral FSET program. This is proven by the fact that we’ve seen over 15 FSET customers finding quality employment through QPS since the beginning of this year!

QPS is currently hiring for many positions in the light industrial, office/clerical, skilled trades, and professional industries across the Northcentral region. If you are interested in finding out more about QPS – either as an employer in search of talent or you are looking for a job yourself – head over to their website at www.qpsemployment.com or contact your local office in Wausau at 715-393-8606.  They are located at 2005 Grand Ave B in Wausau and open Monday through Friday.

To see more Employer Spotlights,  go to our Archives.

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Unemployment Rates


NorthCentral Region Rates

Unemployment statistics pulled from Bureau of Labor Statistics run by the United States Department of Labor. For more information, go to https://data.bls.gov.

(not seasonally adjusted)

 CountyApril '19  March '19  February '19 
 Adams4.2 5.9


 Forest5.3 5.75.7
 Langlade3.4 4.54.8
 Lincoln3.3 3.94.0
 Marathon2.4 2.82.8
 Oneida4.1 4.95.1
 Portage2.6 3.43.5
 Vilas4.7 5.25.0
 Wood3.1 4.24.2
 Wisconsin2.7 3.33.3

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Hot Jobs

The following are the most in-demand fields in the NorthCentral Region:

  • Sales
  • Registered Nurse
  • Heavy & Tractor-Trailer Drivers
  • Marketing
  • General/Operations Manager
  • Accountant/Auditor
  • Maintenance/Repair Worker
  • Construction Worker
  • Carpenter
  • Welder

For more information, click HERE.

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Thru 5/31/19
   3,365 People 
 have gotten jobs
In the NorthCentral
   FSET Program

Fastest Growing Jobs (per North Central Workforce Development Board)

Please head to the NCWDB's website for more data regarding the NorthCentral region!

As you can see, many of the fastest growing jobs are entry level positions, and they pay a lower wage. But don’t let this discourage you if this is not what you want to do long-term! Everyone needs to start somewhere.


Keep in mind that all these positions allow you to gain experience and knowledge that you can take along with you as you travel along your career path.


All of these industries are growing and have a lot of potential. Click on the links below to view graphics showing possible outcomes from starting out in some of the industries noted above!

Janitorial/General Cleaner


Personal Care Worker


Retail Sales

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Address: Wood County Human Services - River Block

111 W. Jackson St., 2nd Floor, Wisconsin Rapids WI 54495  

Phone: +1 (715) 421-8608 8


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