By Secretary Ray Allen
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
This column was published in the 2017 edition of Wisconsin Business Voice.
Gov. Scott Walker proclaimed the month of October as Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin to showcase the impact that manufacturing has on our state’s economy. The strength of Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry and the strength of Wisconsin’s economy are perpetually linked, giving Wisconsinites plenty of reason to celebrate, including:
- Manufacturing accounts for 18 percent of Wisconsin’s gross domestic product.
- Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry employs more than 461,000 Wisconsinites.
- Manufacturing contributed over $56 billion to Wisconsin’s economic growth in 2016.
- Wisconsin manufacturing workers earn an average of $55,348 per year, 20% more than the average of $45,954 per year for all private-sector workers.
This year, we have even more reasons to celebrate our manufacturing industry’s past, present and future. Due to a variety of factors including the strength of Wisconsin’s workforce, our top 10 business climate as well as our first-class education system, global manufacturers such as Foxconn and Haribo have announced their decision to locate in Wisconsin, bringing thousands of manufacturing jobs to the state.
Foxconn, in particular, represents the largest economic development project in Wisconsin, bringing high-tech manufacturing and a technology ecosystem to Wisconsin that will create up to 13,000 direct jobs and has the potential to transform our economy, workforce and education system. In addition, the project is estimated to create 10,000 construction jobs and 22,000 additional indirect or induced jobs from companies that will directly supply Foxconn as well as secondary industries such as retail, food service, and more.
And, thanks to Gov. Walker’s vision and leadership, Wisconsin is ready to bring the next generation of advanced manufacturing to the United States.
Opportunities such as these are the reason Gov. Walker’s administration has made workforce development a top priority. Over the past four years, Gov. Walker and the Legislature have invested over $362 million in state funding on programs such as Youth and Registered Apprenticeship and the Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training grant program. DWD also recently launched WisConnect.com, an online tool that connects college students with Wisconsin employers that offer internships. These initiatives help students and workers develop high-demand job skills that employers need.
With strong partnerships and innovative approaches including Wisconsin technical colleges, universities, and manufacturing-industry partners, DWD will work to maintain and strengthen the talent pipeline for current and future manufacturing employers across the state.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) has been a leader in drawing regional and national attention to Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry, not just during Manufacturing Month, but throughout the year. This year, during Manufacturing Month, DWD, WMC, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the Wisconsin Technical College System and other partners engaged in various activities to promote Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry.
We encourage all Wisconsin manufacturers to learn more about what you can do to raise awareness of opportunities in the manufacturing industry by visiting wimanufacturingmonth.org and dwd.wisconsin.gov.