Manufacturing helps to drive Wisconsin’s economy as a top contributor to the state’s real GDP ($50 billion in total output in 2013)¹ and 16 percent (465,000)² of the state’s workforce employed in the industry. While the Great Recession impacted the sector, manufacturing is making a fast-paced recovery. Reports indicate that the sector has recovered at least half of its jobs initially lost in the downturn³, with the latest economic forecasts predicting continued employment growth and recovery into 2016.

Building the Region’s Talent for Industry Growth

Workforce demographics dictate that in the long-term, there will be a need for more trained workers in Wisconsin. The industry is expected to add nearly 19,000 jobs by 2020, with many requiring skills to support the technologically evolving and lean operations of manufacturing companies. Overall, manufacturing will continue to be a key source of employment since Wisconsin has more workers in the manufacturing sector than any other state, providing some of the best-paying non-managerial jobs, especially for workers with less than 4-year college degrees.

Our Work in Action

Manufacturing Councils

The Workforce Development Board continues to engage in industry partnerships to ensure the available workforce in South Central Wisconsin is equipped with the skills for the industry. As active members of the region’s manufacturing councils, we’re constantly listening to the needs of industry and continue to work with businesses, education partners and communities to identify workforce solutions that work.

If your company is interested in attending a manufacturing council meeting, give us a call. We’ll connect you to a council in your area where you can network with other manufacturers and learn about economic and workforce development initiatives of value to your organization.

Manufacturing Campaign

Manufacturing Campaign_Poster_24x36_123014

We’re collaborating with the Dodge County Manufacturing Business Alliance in response to a demand for more skilled workers in manufacturing in the region. Together, we created the ManUfacturing Campaign to show students, parents and educators in the Dodge county area that there are good-paying manufacturing jobs (and long-term careers) in the U.S. and that many are available right here in South Central Wisconsin.

The campaign site features career resources, videos and the starting-, mid- and advanced-level career opportunities available locally in manufacturing.

Middle College

CNC-Machine-with-Instructor-and-StudentWe’re developing the region’s talent pipeline with workforce development initiatives like the Middle College. The program prepares high school students in our region for the industry with technical college training and work readiness through work experience placements with local companies.

Since 2010, we’ve been collaborating with manufacturing companies in Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Jefferson, Marquette and Sauk counties to offer students industry tours and work experience options for Middle College students to pursue opportunities available in the region’s manufacturing industry. Give us a call to find out how your company can play an active role in preparing our young workers to be successful in the industry.


¹U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, May 2015; ²U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015; ³ Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Winter 20144 Wisconsin Office of Economic Advisors, May 2014