APPLETON, Wis,- For Manny Vasquez at the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce the numbers in the latest Economic Outlook Survey are promising.
"It took us 16 years to get here, but we're making a lot of progress," said Vasquez. He is the vice president of economic development for the Fox Cities Regional Partnerships.
200 companies participated from all industries and according to the results; 70 percent say sales are up and 53 percent say employment is up.
At Robert W. Baird and Company that's good news.
"Being in the financial services world, helping families get a strategy to get into retirement and stay in retirement, we are expecting growth," said financial adviser, Preston Kendall.
For other companies that growth means not enough people to fill job openings.
"We have seen some challenges finding those skilled trade workers for some of those positions," said WE Energies spokesperson, Amy Jahns.
That struggle to fill positions isn't because people aren't interested in the jobs, there are just not enough people in the area, so the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce is trying to change that. They've launched a program called Talent Upload.
"Talent Upload is an effort to bring in large amounts of students from colleges across the Midwest," said Vasquez.
Last year was the first year for the Talent Upload program. The Chamber bussed in 88 kids from states and cities around the Fox Valley and of those kids, 14 took a job in the area. The hope is that continues to grow in the future.