Great Rivers United Way releases 2018 Compass Now report

ONALASKA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Tuesday, the Great Rivers United Way released their 2018 Compass Now report.

It's a report the organization releases every three years to asses the needs in the Great Rivers region, which covers six counties from Buffalo to Vernon.

Organizers started collecting data for the 2018 Compass Now report back in March of 2016.

"Sending out a random household survey to 5,450 households within our six county region. Then we also did convenience sampling to reach the voices that weren't heard in the random household survey. After that we did focus groups, at least one in each county," said GRUW Community Impact Director Liz Evans.

In this edition of the report, organizers identified the top needs in the region as improved mental health, reduce drug and alcohol abuse and coming in at number one, more livable wage jobs.

"i think what's striking is that the top priority this year was jobs with more livable wages. Especially since the data in the report indicates that regional unemployment rates are low, labor participation rates are high, but 57 percent of random household survey respondents rated the region as poor to fair for jobs that offer a comfortable living wage," said Compass Steering Committee Chair Lindsay Menard.

Over 100,000 data points were collected and analyzed to compile the report.

Menard says the 2018 report is similar to the ones published in 2015 and 2012.

But now that the data is out there again, it is up to the community to address the needs identified.

"I would like to see businesses, non-profits, various organizations really take that into account and then really come together and collaborate on ways to improve the top needs. I think no one can do it alone so that collaboration is a really key piece," said Menard.

To see the full 146 page report click here.

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