Foxconn, Kwik Trip projects receive national recognition
Foxconn’s historic investment in Racine County and Kwik Trip’s major expansion in La Crosse have received national recognition for economic development success in Trade & Development magazine’s 13th annual CiCi Awards. The magazine editors at the national trade publication evaluated several hundred announcements from across the U.S. before selecting the 30 winners of its 2017 Corporate Investment & Community Impact Awards. These awards recognize corporate locations and investments, with a focus on both the company investing in the community and the economic developers responsible for securing that investment.
The Foxconn Technology Group’s $10 billion advanced manufacturing campus in Racine County was the largest project receiving an award. The 32-million-square-foot Foxconn campus will employ as many as 13,000 people and is by far the largest economic development project in Wisconsin history. Once the facility is up and running, it will produce nearly 7 million high-definition LCD panels a year.
Kwik Trip was also recognized for its plans to undertake a $300 million capital investment project in La Crosse that will enable the growing company to meet its capacity needs for the foreseeable future. Kwik Trip currently owns and operates 600 retail convenience stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Kwik Trip is going to invest $113 million in a new 200,000-square-foot bread-and-bun production facility, and make multimillion-dollar expansions and improvements in its dairy manufacturing facility, kitchen operations and transportation fleet.
Three companies win 2018 Governor’s Export Achievement Awards
Governor Scott Walker presented Carnivore Meat Co. of Green Bay, Gehl Foods of Germantown and Optimum Vehicle Logistics of Milwaukee with the 2018 Governor’s Export Achievement Award on May 9 in recognition of their success in global business development.
The awards honor businesses that have achieved significant growth or implemented innovative strategies in exporting. Nominees were evaluated on measurable export growth, innovation and contributions to the state’s overall economy, and trade development.
22 Wisconsin school districts awarded Fab Lab grants
On May 1, Governor Scott Walker and WEDC announced that 22 school districts throughout the state have been awarded a total of more than $500,000 in grants to establish or expand local fabrication laboratory (fab lab) facilities.
A Fab Lab is a high-technology workshop equipped with computer-controlled manufacturing components such as 3D printers, laser engravers, computer numerical control routers, and plasma cutters. Through its Fab Lab Grant Program, WEDC is supporting the purchase of Fab Lab equipment for instructional and educational purposes by elementary, middle, junior high, or high school students.
“Over the last three years, WEDC has invested $1.6 million to provide 43 districts across the state the type of equipment needed to help students master the skills that are in high demand in the job market, including manufacturing, technology, and engineering,” said WEDC Secretary Mark R. Hogan. “This program will better prepare students for the life after high school – whether they’re heading straight into the workforce, going to a technical college or attending a four-year university.”
Three new Wisconsin Certified Sites designated
Wisconsin’s Certified Sites portfolio recently welcomed three new locations to the growing list of properties taking advantage of WEDC’s Certified in Wisconsin© Program, which certifies properties as development-ready. The properties in Eagle River, Wausau and Sparta have gained designation as Certified Sites, giving site selectors and business owners the confidence that projects on these properties will be able to move ahead without delays. For a property to gain designation as a Certified Site, critical site attributes like price, availability of utilities, transportation options and environmental standing are closely reviewed.
The Sparta site is a 114-acre portion of South Pointe Business Park zoned for manufacturing. Wausau’s site is 41 acres zoned for industrial uses, including manufacturing and assembly operations, general fabricating and processing, and research laboratories and facilities. Meanwhile, Eagle River’s 21-acre site aims to attract corporate development projects.
Since the program started in 2013, nearly $400 million in capital investment has taken place on Wisconsin’s 21 Certified Sites, creating an estimated 2,300 jobs.
YPWeek’s continued growth captures young professionals’ enthusiasm for Wisconsin
As Wisconsin’s economy continues to improve and the state’s unemployment rate drops to record-low levels, companies in all industries across the state are becoming increasingly concerned about being able to hire and retain qualified workers to accommodate their plans for growth. Wisconsin’s regions have realized that an approach of collaboration, rather than competition, among communities will better help each region, and the state as a whole, attract the skilled and talented workers that are needed to ensure the continued strength of Wisconsin’s economy. One initiative that embodies this collaborative spirit is YPWeek, a week-long series of events for young professionals around the state.
Begun in Milwaukee in 2012, with WEDC’s support YPWeek has expanded to a coordinated statewide initiative with events in 28 communities across Wisconsin. This initiative has grown beyond a single week in April, and has evolved into a peer network with engagement throughout the year. The YPWeek model has become a national model copied in other places, and in 2016 won an award from the International Economic Development Council. In a new element added this year, excursions were added outside of YPWeek to encourage young people to discover other communities around the state, in addition to active participation in events within their own communities during YPWeek itself.
WEDC talent marketing targets Wisconsin alumni
Wisconsin is well known for its talented workforce and the strong work ethic of its people. Maintaining this competitive advantage requires us not only to retain the young people born and educated in our state, but also to attract individuals from other markets whose skills and interests align with Wisconsin’s career and lifestyle attributes. WEDC recently launched a talent attraction initiative aimed at millennials in Chicago, and will soon be expanding the reach of this campaign to include other metro areas throughout the Midwest. Another critical audience for WEDC’s talent marketing strategy is alumni of our colleges and universities—a group that is now being encouraged, through targeted social media ads, to pursue their passions in Wisconsin.
In addition to display advertisements running in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s alumni publications and web-based media that invite the school’s graduates to “come home” to all that Wisconsin offers, WEDC is running a series of “alumni snapshots” on Facebook and Instagram nationally. These social media ads link to videos that feature the perspectives of young people who have studied in Wisconsin and landed their dream jobs here, either right out of school or after leaving the state and deciding to return.