Dear WisconsinBiz Readers,
Anyone who works in economic development quickly learns how far-reaching the impact of a single business investment can be. Newly relocated or expanded companies often employ local construction services to build and outfit their new facilities. New local vendor relationships are established to support growing operations. Newly added workers shop at local retailers. The area’s tax base rises, providing resources for community services, raising the quality of life for citizens far and wide. Thriving communities draw additional business investment and families whose skills serve as fuel for yet new business opportunities. For these reasons, each business “transaction” the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) or our 600-plus network partners support needs to be viewed as a catalyst for economic growth.
Taking an expansive view of the prosperity-generating potential of sound economic development practices, WEDC recently realigned its services and resources around five strategic pillars. We believe these pillars – strategic economic competitiveness; business development; community and economic opportunity; business, investment and talent attraction; and brand development and management – provide the foundation for a bright Wisconsin future, building upon an economic development approach that is both comprehensive and multifaceted.
WEDC’s core strategies are also mutually dependent. For example, as we seek to spur business growth within Wisconsin, we regularly hear from employers that one of their biggest challenges is finding qualified workers for existing and projected jobs. We understand jobs alone do not attract workers, especially when it comes to highly qualified young professionals whose decisions relating to where to reside are driven largely by lifestyle and quality of life factors. Economic development, talent development and community development, in WEDC’s view, are intricately linked and must receive significant attention in our collective efforts to build and maintain a strong Wisconsin economy.
I am encouraged by the collaboration I see among business, community, academic and economic development stakeholders throughout the state who are fully committed to advancing Wisconsin’s long history of forward thinking. Congratulations to the participants in the many economic development success stories discussed in these pages. They represent the hundreds of individuals and businesses throughout the state helping to write Wisconsin’s next chapter.
Mark R. Hogan
Secretary and CEO, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation