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SUDA: "We must walk our talk and build the community infrastructure."

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board recognizes Woodman's Center's potential role in positively influencing the greater Janesville region.

The Friends of the Woodman's Center would like to thank Rhonda Suda, CEO of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB), for her recent letter of support to community stakeholders regarding the positive impact the Woodman's Center project has from a workforce development perspective. The Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board is a local organization that helps build and maintain a skilled workforce in the community to benefit employers and residents alike.

Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board logo

On behalf of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, Inc. (SWWDB), I am pleased to offer support for the Woodman's Sports & Convention Center. Janesville's proposal is innovative and incredibly relevant to the economic and community health of the region.

As the local workforce development board, the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB) serves Janesville in building a talent development pipeline relevant to all employers and the community. Community health, that unique status in which we all prosper together, is dependent on diverse attractions, quality public services and opportunities, and a comprehensive plan.

This Center will attract new consumers to the Janesville area on both a temporary and permanent basis. From increasing employment opportunities to staff center operations to attracting diverse events and activities for adults and youth alike, the Center is poised to be the placemaking catalyst that will fully elevate Janesville above the lingering shadow of the General Motors closure in 2008. In addition, the diversity in industry seen in our community is a testament to the economic development talent and experience operating in the area.

Our local Chamber of Commerce, Forward Janesville, coupled with city and county economic development professionals, has stabilized our local economy. Now we must walk our talk and build the community infrastructure that will make Janesville a destination for visitors and residents to enjoy.

The Center, a flexible-use space, will be open to all and provide recreational activities and events space. As a local attraction, it will support the social and physical health of children and adults.

As we shed the residue of the pandemic, I truly support this effort to bring people back together.

SWWDB tends to look at all endeavors through a workforce development lens, and I appreciate the opportunity to identify the workforce benefits of this project.

  1. Connect youth to job and youth apprenticeship opportunities at the Center and within the events management industry.

  2. Flexible space to hold hiring events and employment workshops.

  3. The location is on the local bus line and within walking distance from residential areas, permitting those with transportation barriers to work at and/or attend events.

  4. Will attract college interns to opportunities in sports/events management, finance, and even healthcare occupations.

  5. Large events will bring the need for temporary work opportunities, a workforce intervention that assists individuals in returning to work and serves as a spectacular first job for many of our youth.

We look forward to your approval of the Woodman's Center project. This community-focused investment is designed to support families and industry and will provide a compounding economic gain for the area.


Rhonda Suda

Chief Executive Officer, Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, Inc.

More on the economic impact of the Woodman's Center

The project will support local communities, families, athletes, individuals, and small businesses while contributing to significant economic growth, creating and retaining jobs, and serving as a catalyst for redevelopment while advancing equitable health and social outcomes and diversifying the city's economic base.

And nevertheless, several studies provide evidence that Janesville's Woodman's Center will produce a significant positive impact on the local community with:

· $23+ million in annual community economic growth

· $7.2 million in personal income growth

· $74.8 million one-time construction impact

· $29.3 million in labor income

The facility is expected to drive job creation in the Janesville area significantly. The project's construction phase alone is projected to create 480 full-time equivalent jobs, while the completed facility will generate 228 additional FTE jobs annually. These jobs will span various employment sectors, including housing and hotel management, marketing and events, restaurant management and customer service, and catering and culinary roles.

Suda's letter of support echoes words previously shared by Jane Blain Gilbertson, CEO/President/Owner of Blain's Farm & Fleet and Blain Supply, Inc., in that the Woodman's Center will serve as a valuable resource for businesses seeking to attract and retain employees and provide year-round job stability for individuals of all ages and skill levels. It also supports Quint Studer's thoughts on what contributes to building a vibrant community here in Janesville.

Stay engaged and keep learning

As leaders familiar with helping drive, fund, volunteer time and resources, and offer expert support to public-private partnership projects, we know that opposing groups can inaccurately interpret facts and data. Therefore, we encourage the public to check out our project page's many studies, cost data, and economic impact resources for the most accurate review.

Our group also welcomes any feedback at, and can work with our available volunteers to exchange productively with you or your organization. We also hope you share your questions and concerns with community decision-makers.

Understanding the Friends role in this project

We believe in public and private partnerships. The Friends of the Woodman's Center have supported the project since 2019. In addition, we work closely with business leaders, local, state, and federal lawmakers, community organizations, the City of Janesville, the Janesville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, and private donors.

Our group efforts are largely volunteer-driven. Our team is focused on connecting the community through awareness and outreach, fundraising, and securing private sponsorships supporting the Woodman's Center.

Our commitment is to raise a minimum of $9M. This amount would total the largest and most significant private fundraising campaign in Janesville's history and can only be met with your project support. We will continue fundraising efforts after reaching this tremendous fundraising milestone.


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