the HIRE initiative

We need a subhead that boosts HIRE

Our Purpose

The HIRE Initiative is made up of organizations in Dane County who are working together to help people find jobs, and help businesses find talent.

HIRE helps people get their GED and learn new skills. Employers can work with HIRE when they want to hire new employees.

Our Impact

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As of October 2019

people entered the HIRE Initiative program.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Learn more about United Way and education here.

people completed their employment training.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Learn more about United Way and education here.

people got a new job.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Learn more about United Way and education here.

How can you get involved with HIRE?

• Be a mentor to a HIRE job seeker
• Be a tutor to help someone prepare for their GED test
• Volunteer to help with mock interviews, resume writing, or trainings
• Provide internships for HIRE participants to help them learn more about your industry and earn a good reference
• Hire job seekers from HIRE

If you are…
A job & training seeker wishing to participate
A volunteer
(mentors, tutors, coaches)

If you are…
an employer
a sponsor or a potential sponsor
someone wishing to be a donor

Frequently Asked Questions

The HIRE Initiative is made up of many organizations in Dane County who are working together to help people find jobs. HIRE also helps people get their GED and learn new skills.

By providing a navigation system to employment, the HIRE Initiative works to match participants’ skills to employers’ needs.

United Way of Dane County
Centro Hispano
Community Coordinated Child Care (4C’s)
Literacy Network
Madison area Urban Ministry
Odyssey Project
Urban League of Greater Madison
Vera Court Neighborhood Center (LAWD)
YWCA Madison

These organizations also help advise the HIRE Initiative:

Madison College
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

HIRE Partner Agencies help each participant make a personal employment plan. Then the participant joins a program to find a new job or to earn their high school diploma or advanced certification.

The HIRE Ladder shows how participants work their way through each step until they find the employment they want:

For Job Seekers

It is easy to join HIRE. Someone will help you set goals and find the right program for you

You can take a test to find your current reading and math level

The Partner Agencies that make up HIRE will help make your learning path more clear


For Employers

HIRE can connect you with employees who have the skills or certifications you need

You can be a partner in building our future workforce

You can recruit employees from more diverse groups

You can participate if you are 18 or older and you want education and training to help you get a job.

It is FREE for job seekers to participate in the HIRE Initiative.

The 2008-2012 census shows that 21,441 adults in Dane County do not have a high school diploma. Without a high school diploma, it is much harder to find a job. When many people don’t have work, it affects our whole community.

When people have better-paying jobs, they can provide for themselves and their families. This creates stability in their lives and in our economy.

We asked people in the community which skills are the most important. They said:

Literacy (including writing)
Basic math
Emotional intelligence
Strong work ethic
Computer basics (including Internet and email)
Ability to plan your work schedule to do the most important tasks first
Cultural competency (respect for people who are different from you)

HIRE Spotlight

2020 program participant
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Two things: my parents, who have always been very involved in their community giving generously of their time to organizations, family members, and friends who needed support. I didn’t realize it as I was growing up, but their example has been a huge influence in how I try to show up in my local community. And, American Family Insurance which has an incredible culture of giving back to the community.

My husband Tracy and I have been married 26 years. We have two sons who are great young men successfully finding their ways in the world. Jon is 19, and graduated from Sun Prairie High School in 2019. He’s going to college part time and working (full time now) too! Andy is 17 and wrapping up his Junior year at Sun Prairie. He is focused on all things basketball and fitness. He’s exploring college options and is currently leaning toward options in warm weather states! They are very independent, but when we are together, we love to travel, play cards, and watch movies.

I think of United Way as the overseer of need in our community and the group that sets strategy and direction on how to solve big issues. United Way offers guidance and coordinates other non-profits, to maximize dollars and impact.

Our CEO Jack Salzwedel. Seriously! He has a huge appetite for learning and is very open-minded to new ideas. He cares so much about the success of our company and employees, but also the communities we live and work in. And, I love that he is willing to take a stance on big issues!

Wouldn’t it be great if no one had to worry about housing stability or the availability of food? I especially hope this for our children. And, I hope for equity….in opportunity for education and for employment and for safety in our community. But hoping isn’t enough…and that’s why I am a believer in United Way as a path to our hopes becoming reality!

2020 participating organization
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His mother is the biggest influence on his philanthropy. She was always giving of her time to the community through, church, school and her beloved St. Mary’s Hospital where she is recognized for her years of volunteer service – 30 years and over 22,000 hours!

Jeff was born and raised in Sun Prairie where he was part of a large family. His father was President and CEO of the Bank of Sun Prairie for many decades – banking was in the family DNA with Jeff working for M & I Bank for 15 years before transitioning to J.H. Findorff & Son 19 years ago to lead their business development team.  He and his wife, Maralee, live in Sun Prairie where they raised their two adult children, Ashley who is 24 and works for Oakwood – East in Madison and Ausitn, 22 and a 2020 graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison with two majors and plans to go on to medical school.

 “United Way is the organization that connects the dots. They recognize and identify the needs and ensure resources are allocated to where they will do the most good for the Community.  A lot of people have money to give but do not always know where it will create the biggest impact – United Way does.”

 Three people stand out to me: Rich Lynch, Chairman at J. H. Findorff & Son, Jack Salzwedel, Chairman and CEO at American Family Insurance and Kevin Conroy, President and CEO at Exact Sciences. Each of these individuals exemplifies what is to be a true leader in business and in the community. They are big picture people with positive attitudes and a true sense of humility. 

It would be great to live in a community where diversity and inclusion do not have to be ‘worked on’ because they are woven into the fabric of our community. The achievement gap no longer exists and homelessness is an exception – not accepted. United Way is helping us move in this direction by keeping its finger on the pulse of the community.

What we're up to

Tocqueville Conversation Series

Join us for lunch, networking and conversation designed to inform and inspire. Programs feature remarks by United Way President & CEO, Renee Moe, and a keynote by business and philanthropic leaders. Save the date for our upcoming Conversations on August 11 and December 1.

Tocqueville Society Membership Dinner

Each fall, we gather to celebrate the impact our United Way Tocqueville Society gifts have on the Dane County community. We also honor and celebrate the philanthropy and commitment to our community of a member household. This year’s event, on October 8, will honor Dan and Patti Rashke.

United Way of Dane County Foundation

Gifts to United Way of Dane County Foundation extend your family’s legacy of effective, local philanthropy. Our Foundation advances United Way’s mission to improve lives through key initiatives in education, financial stability and health... today and for future generations.

Contact Us

2020 Chair: Betty Bergquist
West Region Sales Vice President American Family Insurance