Madison – Gov. Scott McCallum announced today that Winter Woods has won the January Governor’s Workforce Innovation Award (WIN), which recognizes individuals and organizations that create innovative approaches and outside-of-the-box solutions to develop and sustain Wisconsin’s workforce.
Located in Glidden, which is in northern Wisconsin’s Ashland County, Winter Woods works closely with Division of Vocational Rehabilitation counselor Jerry Jorgenson to provide employment opportunities to people with disabilities. Vocational Rehabilitation is located within the Department of Workforce Development.
“Once again, a Wisconsin company is leading the way by employing people with disabilities and helping to fill a labor shortage by tapping into this vital resource,” Gov. McCallum said.
Many industries are still experiencing labor shortages despite the economic situation, and over the next several years the shortage is expected to grow significantly as baby boomers leave the work force and fewer young people are there to replace them.
Started in 1976 by Steve Lewis in his cabin, Winter Woods has grown into a multi-million dollar business. The company is the largest employer in Glidden with 35 full-time employees, 35 part-time employees, with an additional 40 seasonal employees.
In the past year, Winter Woods has earmarked positions for DVR consumers and provided employment opportunities at every level of the organization. They also make it a point to contact the division when positions become available with the company.
In addition to making and selling holiday wreaths, Winter Woods has expanded its business, making it a year-round operation. The “Forest Natural” division of the company sells natural materials, such as pine cones, twigs and mosses, to craft stores and wholesale florists for crafting and floral designs. “Northern Lights,” another division of Winter Woods, uses pine cones, dipped in material that cause them to burn in different colors. The pine cones are used in gift baskets of fire starters, color cones or waxed cones that are sold to retail outlets throughout the United States.