MadREP Report: October 20, 2017
Partner Profile: UW-Extension Center for Community and Economic Development
The success of the Advance Now Strategy relies on MadREP's collaboration with many key partners such as the UW Extension's Center for Community and Economic Development (CCED), which plays a key role in equipping individuals, local governments, and community organizations in Wisconsin to make better-informed decisions.
What is the Center for Community and Economic Development?
Located in Madison, the CCED is comprised of faculty and staff with expertise in economics, geography, business, planning, public administration, sustainability, communications, and community development. As an outreach unit of UW-Extension, CCED provides applied research, educational programs, and assistance in the following areas:

* Broadband and E-Commerce
* Marketing and Community Branding 
* Community Food Systems
* Community Readiness 
* Downtown and Business District Economic  Development
What is the EDA University Center? 
Earlier this year, the CCED was designated an Economic Development Administration (EDA) University Center by the U.S. Department of Commerce following a competitive selection process. As an EDA University Center, the CCED receives federal financial support for research focused on community and economic development in Wisconsin. The University Center's research and educational team's work is centered on better understanding regional economic change, entrepreneurship, innovation, labor markets, economic resilience, and proactive strategies to affect the local economy and community quality of life. The center boasts a host of resources including the WIndicators Series, Wisconsin Economy Series, and its Economic Reports.
How can economic development professionals tap into this valuable resource?
Whether you're interested in learning more about the performance of the retail industry in your community, how R&D investments in the state are affecting the economy, or labor market trends -- the CCED has a vast library of resources and a network of educators available to provide relevant insights.  "We have had a very productive and positive partnership with CCED, and encourage you to learn more about its work and the resources available to you," says MadREP president Paul Jadin.
For more information about CCED, visit
Thank you to Interim Director Steven Deller and Community Development Specialist Matt Kures of the Center for Community and Economic Development for providing input on this eNews feature.
Event Highlight: M+DEV Game Development Conference
Friday, October 27 | Alliant Energy Center, Madison

The Wisconsin Games Alliance presents M+DEV -- a video game development conference for professional game developers and those seeking to become professional game developers. The conference will provide a gathering place for game developers from the region and beyond to discuss and share the latest information on the science, art, mechanics and business of making games. Meet, network, and learn from talented minds both locally and from the greater global games market. Visit for more info. 

Talent & Training:
For tech recruiters, UW-Madison is a hotbed for computer science talent

Over a thousand students and recruiters jostled about Union South for the 2017 Computer Science jobs fair last week. Lines of varying sizes snaked throughout the space as students waited to chat with potential employers from almost 50 different startups, tech firms and government institutions. The fever pitch level of activity was a sign of how fierce industry demand is for the university's computer science talent, according to the event's organizers. Barton Miller, a computer science professor with the university, estimated that more than 95 percent of students graduate with a job offer in hand. "The demand is almost unending," said Miller. Miller said that Wisconsin also has a particularly high pedigree, with U.S. News and World Report ranking UW-Madison at number 11 in the nation. It means that the school gets a lot of attention from local companies as well as industry recruiters from around the world.
Regional Economy:
Dane County joins the contest for Amazon's HQ2

Dane County is vying for a chance to house Amazon's second headquarters -- one of more than 100 communities across the U.S. hoping to land the online retail giant and its promise of 50,000 high-tech jobs. The Madison Region Economic Partnership submitted a 180-page application this week, MadREP president Paul Jadin said, and the theme of the pitch is: "We are a younger version of Seattle and Amazon can grow with us." It's hard to tell what Dane County's chances are, but even if the area is not chosen for headquarters No. 2 "maybe there's some other function of the company that Madison would be attractive (for)," said Madison economic development division director Matt Mikolajewski. "We have a great story to tell."

Community Highlight:
Evansville approves four commercial and residential development projects
The Evansville city plan commission approved four projects this month that the community development director believes will add variety to the city's retail and residential options. Projects include expansion for a convenience store, a new subdivision, a combined residential-retail space, and plans for the return of Night Owl Food and Spirits. Aside from widening the city's tax base, Jason Sergeant, community development director, said the projects will provide new opportunities for the city and reflect goals from the city's 2015 comprehensive plan. "It's just something different that I don't think Evansville has seen before, which is a positive difference to provide another variety of types of retail choices, types of housing choices," Sergeant said. Necessary infrastructure near development sites is already well developed, meaning projects should bring minimal challenges, Sergeant said.
Business Expansion:
Kalahari starts $35M expansion of convention center in Wisconsin Dells
Kalahari Resort's convention-center footprint in Wisconsin Dells is about to undergo a growth spurt, with the entire area's tourism industry expected to benefit as a result. Officially breaking ground earlier this month, the 112,000-square-foot addition will double the size of what already ranks among the area's largest convention facilities. The expansion's addition of significant convention space without accompanying sleeping rooms will equal more visitors to hotels and resorts across the area as well as to Kalahari Resort, said Lake Delton Village President John Webb. The addition is scheduled to open in September 2019 and include a 52,000-square-foot-ballroom -- more than twice the size of the resort's two existing ballrooms -- and 10 additional meeting rooms.

Industry Spotlight:
As Epic Systems has soared, Madison has become a center for health information technology
Supporters of the Foxconn project can only hope that it has the same effect on the state's economy as Epic Systems in Verona has had. It now employs 9,700 people company-wide and had revenue of $2.5 billion last year -- up from 396 people and revenue of $47 million in 2000. And it has made Madison a center for health information technology, with an array of established companies and startups. "You don't see the health technology companies leaving Madison -- you see companies moving to Madison," said Dan Blake, a partner at HealthX Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in health IT companies. "Epic has had some of the leading thinking across the health technology landscape," Blake said. Some of that work may lead to more spin-offs in the Madison area -- the same economic phenomenon that it is hoped will result from Foxconn if it follows through with its plan to build a $10 billion flat-panel display plant in Racine County.

Talent & Training:
Local workplaces focus on diversity

For a business to build a workforce that reflects the changing demographics of the population it serves, commitment must come from the top and permeate the organization through inclusive policies and practices. That's according to local businesses that answered questions about diversity -- and scored highest among other survey respondents -- for Madison Magazine's 2017 Best Places to Work survey. Mark Richardson, president of Unfinished Business and CEO of GigBlender in Madison, says a key ingredient in building a diverse workforce is to be intentional. Richardson serves on a diversity and inclusiveness committee for the Madison Region Economic Partnership, and says the local area has seen some small gains in recent years, as evidenced by some findings in MadREP's annual diversity survey. But there's much more work to be done, he says. 

WEDC: Entrepreneurship Support Program
Application Deadline: October 20

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is  providing grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 to organizations or communities for projects with eligible activities including the promotion of entrepreneurship.  Find out more.
WIN Luncheon: Addressing Skilled Workforce Needs
October 24, 11:30am-1:30pm
Sheraton Hotel, Madison
The upcoming Wisconsin Innovation Network Luncheon will focus on specific strategies for meeting Wisconsin's need for skilled workers, especially in tech-based fields such as advanced manufacturing. Learn more.
Financial Assistance for Global Market Expansion
October 30, 7:30am-2pm
Pyle Center, Madison

Join Madison International Trade Association for this half-day seminar that will dispel misconceptions about the two most often cited barriers to entry into international markets by Wisconsin companies -- complexity and cost. Register online.
2017 Illinois Farm Bureau Local Regional Food Conference
November 6-7
Bloomington, IL

Where and how do you impact the local value chain? Attend the Local Regional Food Conference presented by the Illinois Farm Bureau to learn how to grow your business from the best. Learn more.
Startup Week Madison
November 6-12

During WI Startup Week, everyone from across the state is invited to attend events in Madison to learn about how we're building and growing a diverse and inclusive ecosystem -- for all sectors and types of entrepreneurs. Find out more.
Applications Open: Upstart Winter 2018 Cohort
Deadline: November 10, 5pm

It takes more than a good idea to start a successful business. Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation's Upstart Program -- a free entrepreneurship program for women and people of color -- can help. Apply by 11/10.
View more events and opportunities at

Thank you to UW Health-Quartz and to all of our investors. 


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