Thriving in Manitowoc County

Employers in Manitowoc County have something very much in common with Progress Lakeshore…The desire and the need to RETAIN-GROW-ATTRACT top talent.

As an organization, Progress Lakeshore is focused on helping businesses, big and small, thrive so we can keep our economy growing. To accomplish this, we target three primary areas:

  • RETAIN the fabulous organizations we already have here in Manitowoc County
  • GROW business by providing resources and connections to take business to a “new level”
  • ATTRACT new businesses and new talent to our area

Likewise, employers in Manitowoc County strive to RETAIN the employees they currently have in this competitive market, GROW their business, and ATTRACT additional, quality employees to support their growth.

As an employee benefits consultant, I have the pleasure of working with employers throughout Northeast Wisconsin and I can tell you from personal experience that the employers with the greatest success in retaining and attracting top talent make an effort to promote an appealing image of their organization. Employers who devote time to clearly communicate and showcase the benefit program they offer positively impact their image and become a sought after place to work. Why? Because when employees truly understand the benefits provided and know how their health insurance (for example) works, they fully appreciate the investment as well as the commitment the employer is making on their behalf. Dedicating time to clear communication and education also supports the positive culture you are trying to foster in your organization. Have you ever checked out what employees say about your benefits package and culture on Indeed? This may provide a pulse of how your organization is viewed. There are also benchmark surveys that allow you to see how your plan designs and employer contribution strategies measure against others in your industry and region.

While health, dental, and life insurance remain on the top of list of benefits employees look for, there are many other solutions that can be offered or promoted that don’t have to cost an employer more. For example, perhaps your current plans have an embedded EAP or Employee Assistance Program that employees can tap into if they need assistance with the pressures and stresses in their lives. If your organization doesn’t have an EAP, there are a number of carriers that offer this service and the cost is minimal, yet greatly appreciated by employees. An EAP is just one example of something area employers are offering and promoting to help them RETAIN-GROW-ATTRACT talent.  As an employer, it’s important that you have the resources and partners you need to retain, grow and attract employees.   Our organization is a perfect place to start if you are looking for assistance like this! The experts at Progress Lakeshore can help guide your business in the right direction. This website is a great starting point if you want to learn more or leave a comment below & we will connect with you for a one-on-one conversation.

The Growth of Grow It Forward

Amber Daugs, CEO of Grow It Forward

Grow it Forward is a local anti-hunger organization that was founded by Amber Daugs in 2014. Their mission is to provide people in need with dignified access to good food, along with opportunities to grow, cook, share and advocate for it. Since their inception, Daugs has used good food to build community and feed change in Manitowoc County. Today, Grow it Forward operates out of their Community Food Center at 1501 Marshall Street in Manitowoc where they offer a weekly community meal, an onsite food pantry, and grow fresh leafy greens as a part of their indoor hydroponic system. They offer food skills programs, outreach and engagement programming, grow fresh food at their community garden located at 2344 South 14th Street, and so much more!

Grow It Forward’s gorgeous community garden!

Like any business, this nonprofit didn’t become the impactful powerhouse it is today overnight. To take her vision for Grow it Forward to the next level, Daugs recognized skillsets she wanted to grow and reached out to Progress Lakeshore for mentorship and guidance. Daugs said that “in order to bring my vision to fruition, I needed to be mentored on the fundamental basics of nonprofit operations related to special events, fundraising, budgeting, resource development, board recruitment and professional development.”

Amber & volunteers in the kitchen of Grow It Forward

By stepping out of her comfort zone and asking Progress Lakeshore for assistance with what Grow it Forward needed, the organization transformed and grew exponentially. They soon found someone to aid in developing a premier fundraiser for their organization, recruited a corporate executive and business banker to serve on their Board of Directors, and personally, Daugs grew as a leader. “I am so grateful to have gained these skills while under the mentorship of Progress Lakeshore,” said Daugs. “I believe the quote is ‘If your dreams or goals don’t scare you a little, they’re not big enough.’ My dreams and vision for the organization are boundless, all because of the leadership and guidance received through Progress Lakeshore.”              

A semi leaves Grow It Forward, on the way to deliver 30,000lbs of food to families in need!

Progress Lakeshore is always ready to work with start-ups and entrepreneurs, to help ideas bloom and business plans flourish. They have a plethora of resources and tools at their disposal to aid in any aspect of business finance, planning or development. For more information on how Progress Lakeshore can help grow your business dream, visit, call (920) 482-0540 or email

Interested in learning more about how you can help Grow it Forward further expand and build capacity to continue to meet the needs of those who struggle with food insecurity in Manitowoc County? Visit to learn how you can give financially, donate healthy food resources, and volunteer!