From cheese and donuts, to cranes and elevators, to beer and wine, there are some pretty cool things made right here in Wisconsin. So many great things, that the state’s chamber of commerce has a competition each year to find out what is the “Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin.” This is all part of a month-long celebration of Wisconsin’s strong manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing is the top contributor to Wisconsin’s economy, with an economic output of $65 billion. Nearly half a million people work in family-supporting manufacturing jobs –accounting for almost 15% of the workforce. These jobs range from technicians to engineers to management positions, giving individuals who work in manufacturing a wide variety of options for moving up the ladder.

While these strong numbers show the industry is growing, there are challenges that prevent it from reaching its highest potential. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the manufacturing business community at the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Business Day. We discussed the top issues facing employers such as workforce shortages, lack of workforce housing and supply chain disruptions.

A recent employer survey showed that 86% of employers are struggling to hire workers and 72% believe that the shortage is the top public policy issue facing Wisconsin. One important part of building a strong and skilled workforce is drawing experienced, hard-working people into Wisconsin. To support workforce attraction, the budget the Legislature passed included a requirement that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) spend $3 million on talent attraction, restarting the program that was operating under Gov. Scott Walker and was suspended under the Evers Administration. The program works to advertise our state as a great place to live with fantastic opportunities for work, education, and entertainment.

I hear time and again from employers in the district that this initiative, and others focused on increasing the workforce, is critically important. Talent attraction is so essential that the business community recently sent a letter to Gov. Tony Evers begging him to start the talent attraction initiative that was included in the Legislature’s budget—and to also use some of the billions of dollars in federal funding that he has at his discretion towards the program.

While I am hopeful that Evers will stop his “go-it-alone” approach to doling out this federal money and listen to the business community’s request, his previous actions show that his support for manufacturing is all talk. Not only did he discontinue important programs to bring new talent to Wisconsin, he has supported keeping individuals on welfare programs and out of the workforce, while proposing increasing taxes on manufacturers by over $500 million in both of his budget proposals.

Evers may not back the business community, but I know that supporting our employers means securing family-supporting jobs and providing opportunities for my constituents to grow their careers. Republicans are committed to advocating for keeping Wisconsin’s workforce competitive and ensuring our economy continues to grow and thrive.

State Rep. Mark Born, R-Beaver Dam, represents the 39th Assembly District which covers parts of Dodge and Washington counties including the communities of Beaver Dam, Hartford, Juneau, Mayville and surrounding areas.

Recommended for you

Load comments