MadREP Report: October 26, 2016
Inspire Madison Region Takes Off

As the new school year has taken off, so have MadREP's efforts with Inspire Madison Region! Inspire is an add-on layer to Career Cruising, the software program selected by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for career exploration by school districts across the state. While Career Cruising provides valuable information by itself, Inspire takes the additional step of connecting local students with experiential learning opportunities and career coaches at local businesses who are looking to grow their own workforce and have volunteered to participate in the initiative.   

MadREP first took a leadership role in Inspire Madison Region following feedback from businesses across the region that were frustrated by not being able to find enough qualified workers and had a desire to build connections with local schools. Now, as the license holder for Inspire Madison Region, MadREP is leading the charge to recruit school districts and businesses from across the region to participate in the initiative.

Inspire Madison
Inspire Madison Region schools (click to view larger map)
Region currently includes:
  • 20 school districts "live" on the system
  • 12 school districts "approved to go live" pending on-boarding of local companies
  • 13 school districts targeted/meetings being planned
  • 198 career coaches
  • 165 companies on-boarded, offering a combined total of 825 experiential activities
Over the next several months, the Inspire Madison Region platform will be made available to all school districts in the region, and companies representing all industry sectors -- particularly those in which we have a competitive advantage -- will continue to be recruited by MadREP in association with our chamber of commerce and economic development partners.  

For more information about the initiative, see For further information about Inspire or MadREP's other Human Capital efforts, contact VP of Talent & Education Gene Dalhoff at or by phone at 608-571-0403.  
WEDC Insights: International Opportunities in the United Arab Emirates

Long recognized as the commercial epicenter of the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) offers excellent opportunities for Wisconsin companies looking to expand into the region. Increased government spending to diversify the country's economy has opened doors for a wide range of Wisconsin products including defense equipment, processed foods, and alternative energy solutions, among others. Learn more about exporting to the UAE.
Industry Profile: 
DWD visits Madison-Kipp for Manufacturing Month  
Hundreds of students went to Sun Prairie's Madison-Kipp Corporation as part of a Wisconsin Manufacturing Month kick-off event. During the tour, students learned about more than 30 types of jobs that include robotics, programming, and engineering. MKC's President/CEO Tony Koblinski said as baby boomers get ready to retire from the manufacturing industry, the focus is on attracting young people to fill jobs. "We have to capture the kids early in terms of thinking of a career in manufacturing and through the partnerships that are going on between the agencies, schools, and manufacturers, we are creating opportunities to intern, youth apprenticeship." Koblinski said. An industry that employs more than 465,000 people in the state, the average manufacturing worker earns $55,000 per year, 22 percent more per year than other private-sector workers.

Talent & Training: 
New study of Wisconsin's labor force highlights important role of education

According to a new study -- Shifting Wisconsin Labor Resources: A Review of Educational Attainment -- Wisconsin's education pipeline plays an essential role in the state's overall economy. "Educated workers are essential to a future with competitive wages, innovative industry and entrepreneurial activity," according to the report's authors. "The university and technical college system, combined with low rates of workers leaving, suggest that homegrown, talented workers could be the key to economic growth in Wisconsin." However, several indicators suggest the education pipeline in Wisconsin could be improved. The study provides information on how to go beyond the demands of today's industries and look to shape future industries.

Capital Connection:
USDA Funds Rural Cooperative Development in Minnesota, Wisconsin

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Rural Development has awarded $200,000 to the UW Center for Cooperatives (UWCC) and Cooperative Network. USDA's Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG) provide funding that helps establish, expand, or operate rural businesses -- particularly cooperatives and mutually-owned enterprises. With this funding UWCC and Cooperative Network will focus on regional food systems; rural broadband access; senior cooperative housing; employee ownership as a business succession and retention strategy; and several cooperative education initiatives by providing technical assistance and counseling to more than 150 existing cooperatives and 25 groups interested in forming new cooperative businesses in the Upper Midwest. These efforts are projected to create or save over 50 jobs.

Business Expansion:
Saint-Gobain expansion creates 130 new jobs in Portage

Saint-Gobain's $11.5M expansion in Portage has resulted in 60 new jobs, with plans to fill another 70 jobs by the end of the year. This expansion marks only the latest investment the company has made in the Portage plant, which has invested $30M in the location since 2008. Part of the "innovative materials group," the Portage plant manufactures components for medical devices. The company boosted its efforts in recent years to attract younger workers, including a tuition reimbursement program for students to further their education while they work and working with local schools to help spread awareness about manufacturing jobs. "There are a lot of places in the world for expansion, so why Portage?" asked Steve Maddox, general manager of Saint Gobain's Life Sciences division at a recent ribbon cutting to commemorate the expansion. "We have the capabilities in design... and it's about the people -- what you guys can deliver and will deliver."

Read more. 

Startup Scene:
Biotechnology and healthcare are driving the startup economy in Wisconsin and nationwide, report says

A new report by PwC MoneyTree shows that biotechnology and healthcare are driving the startup industry in Wisconsin and the rest of the country. Eight Wisconsin venture capital investments totaling $28.7M were included in the report, which shows the national biotechnology sector received $1.8B in investments through 87 deals. Of the eight Wisconsin companies, four were biotechnology or medical equipment companies.This trend toward life sciences is reflected nationwide, as investments in the sector make up 23 percent of all venture capital funds invested in startups. 

Business Expansion: 
Catalent Biologics to expand Madison operations, add 100 jobs

Catalent Biologics Madison, maker of investigational drugs, will build more than 22,000 square-feet of manufacturing, office, and lab space in a $34M project scheduled to start construction in November. The company, currently at 145 employees in Madison, will add more than 100 employees over the next two years. Catalent has 30 locations worldwide and more than 9,000 employees, reporting $1.85B in revenue in FY2016. Contributing to the project is up to $1M in state tax credits over the next three years from WEDC, depending on the level of capital investment during that period. "This expansion will further enhance the Madison region's leadership position in the pharmaceutical and health industries," said Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch at groundbreaking ceremonies last week.

Job Opportunity: Executive Director, Mount Horeb Area Economic Development Corporation (MHAEDC)
MHAEDC seeks a part time executive director to promote the Mt. Horeb area by supporting existing and attracting new businesses. View the job posting and contact MHAEDC president Mike McNall at 608.437.4682.
Wisconsin Pavilion at 2017 National Restaurant Association Show 
Deadline: October 30

Join the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection as part of the Wisconsin Pavilion at the National Restaurant Association Show taking place May 20-23 in Chicago, IL. Contact Ashwini Rao for more info.

2016 Badger Bioneers Conference
November 10, 8am-5pm
Union South, Madison

Celebrate social innovation and honor champions in our community at this one-of-a-kind conference that will challenge, inspire, and prepare you with new ideas, partners, and skills to build a sustainable future together. Learn more.

Trade updates with China
November 6, 11:30am-2pm
Fluno Center, Madison

Join Madison International Trade Association to learn more about the business climate in China and common pitfalls which can affect your success. Register online.
Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium
November 16-17
Monona Terrace, Madison

Join the Wisconsin Technology Council for the 2016 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, where an anticipated 600 attendees will offer opportunities for companies to interact with angel and venture investors from WI and beyond. Find out more.
Call for Applications: Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year Award (MOTY)
Deadline: November 18

Manufacturing is the engine that drives the Wisconsin economy. In its 29th year, the Wisconsin MOTY Award program recognizes excellence in manufacturing. Winners will be revealed at the awards banquet in February 2017. Learn more.

Thanks to John Deere and to all of our investors

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