A report on economic opportunity occurring in Sheboygan County and what it means for the local economy

Economic Progress and Opportunity Update


Monday, May 7, 2018
Non-Traditional Finance | Site Selection | Workforce Development
SHEBOYGAN COUNTY COMPANIES, HR PROFESSIONALS, GET 'R DONE

Sheboygan County - Workforce attraction and retention is job one; that fact is well documented. It is time to acknowledge that last year, as compared to the previous, Sheboygan County companies are hiring at a higher level of growth than any any other MSA in the State of Wisconsin.

Congratulations to the talented members of each company's Human Resources Department, and to the companies that are helping provide economic growth due to success in their respective businesses. Hopefully, SomeplaceBetter.org - and our continued work to support your efforts, are useful resources.
Source: Worknet, 2016, 2017 Employment
IN UNDER SIX MONTHS, A ROBOT CAN MANUFACTURE THIS INNOVATIVE HOME FOR AS LITTLE AS $300,000

Chattanooga Constructing a home by hand can be both expensive and time-consuming, especially when the home features a custom design. Some homebuilders have chosen to automate part of the construction process instead.

A new architectural startup called  Branch Technology uses 3D-printing robots that can construct parts for homes.

The company will build a prototype of  its first home, designed by architecture firm  WATG, this year in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Branch's machines will print the walls, roof, and interior architectural elements of the 1,0000-square-foot model over the span of a few months, and then a construction crew will assemble the components on-site.

The robotic arm on the left is on rails. The robotics are similar to those use in auto manufacturing (Volkswagen has a major plant in Chattanooga. The image on the right is the 3D framework that has been printed by the robotic arm.
WITH GENEROSITY OF KOHLER, PLYMOUTH'S CAREER PREPAREDNESS CONTINUES TO LEAD

Review - Plymouth School's "Project Lead The Way" continues to grow, and lead Wisconsin in connecting youth with high-wage earning STEM careers. What began as motivated educators--that inspired administrators--then school board and a strong corporate community--has led to this. 

Programs started with engineering, then moved to trades, and food science. 

Now, due to a generous donation by Kohler Co., robotics. 

Kohler Co. of a $65,000 industrial robot to Plymouth High School to aid in educating students for a wide variety of industrial robotic jobs that need to be filled now and in the future.
It's just the latest in a series of collaborations between the county's largest employer and the Plymouth School District. And the partnership between Kohler and the district is just one of many such partnerships between the schools and local industries.

As Kohler Co. executive Mark Feick said in announcing the donation at last month's School Board meeting, all of this recognizes the truth that "Strong schools make for a strong community."

The center piece of this public-private educational effort is the six-year-old Science and Technology Center at Plymouth High School, utilized by both the high school and Lakeshore Technical College to ensure that local industries - such as Sargento, Johnsonville, Van Horn, and many more - can rely on a steady stream of trained workers well into the future.

BRILLIANT: WISCONSIN WAIVING LLC FEE FOR STUDENT ENTREPRENEURS

SCEDC  The State of Wisconsin is now waiving the fees for student entrepreneurs filing to launch their own businesses.

Effective immediately, the state is waiving the $130 fee to create a Limited Liability Corporation for college students. The waiver was enacted when Wisconsin Act 177 was signed into law earlier this year.

Student entrepreneurs seeking the waiver must be enrolled in a post-secondary institution in Wisconsin; organize the LLC themselves or be a member of the company when it is formed; form the LLC as a business startup; and be at least 18 years old.

The waiver can be obtained by submitting a paper  Form 502SE and a completed affidavit to the  Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

SHEBOYGAN COUNTY EMPLOYERS TOPS FOR YOUNG PROFESSIONALS

Urban MKE   NEWaukee  announced the winners of the  2018 Bubbler Awards: Best Places to Work for Young Professionals in Wisconsin . Of the top 10, two are based right here in Sheboygan County Companies were nominated by their employees, evaluated, and selected by a group of young professional leaders from across the state of Wisconsin as the Top 10 Best Places to Work for Young Professionals.

Congratulations to Johnsonville and Sargento for much deserved recognition. Developing the FreshTech Innovation District is crucial, but it could not be done without the bevy of excellent companies based here in Sheboygan County. 

LOOKING FOR AN IDEA TO MAKE A COMMUNITY EVEN MORE LIVABLE?

Curbed - Sheboygan County cities and villages have done a great job of placemaking. These initiatives are crucial to help attract new residents;  the efforts are noticed.

Seeking another idea? Curbed provides 101 ways to improve your community via link below. Pay close attention to #88. 

FOOD TRUCK BUSINESS WAS SO SUCCESSFUL THEY OPENED A STOREFRONT

KING 5 For the past four years, the owners served their Asian-inspired plate lunches out of a food truck -- but they soon realized there was a problem. They were too popular and needed a bigger space! See video link below, prepare to be hungry.

Another restaurant that serves only mac-n-cheese was so successful they opened a carryout business a block away from their restaurant. Link below.

WI STATE SENATE APPROVES NEARLY $7 MILLION TO EXPAND AD CAMPAIGN

WSJ The Senate voted 17-15 to approve the additional funds. Sen. Rob Cowles, R-Green Bay, joined all Democrats in voting against the measure.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. launched a $1 million advertising campaign in Chicago earlier this year. The ads on trains, health club posters and beer coasters contrasts Wisconsin's lower cost of living and commute times to Chicago's with the tagline "Wisconsin. It's more you."

The additional funds expand the campaign to Minneapolis, Detroit and other cities and also fund an effort to recruit veterans transitioning to the civilian workforce.

It's almost like Wisconsin has an image problem with prospective workforce. Ken Harwood, respected publisher of Wisconsin Development News offers a few suggestions that might prove more successful than throwing more money marketing a product that has been harmed:
If I had 6 million to entice millennials to move to Wisconsin. We would spend some money on these ideas:
  • A tax plan/credit to pay interest on student loans for millennials who stay in the state! 
  • Spend money on "wet space" for UW entrepreneurs to develop their ideas. 
  • Work with WARF to incentivize keeping our patents in state. 
  • Develop a real apprenticeship program targeting at least 20% of our high school students. 
  • Develop or support more co-working spaces in the state. Visit a co-working space and see how millennials come up with and grow ideas. 
  • Spend some of the 6 million on LOCAL ED programs and ask these people to work with millennials. A handshake is worth far more than a train ad.
HIAWATHA BANK PLAN ADVANCES 

Review Plymouth will become home to another bank soon.
The Plan Commission approved a site plan for Hiawatha National Bank in a new building on Walton Drive.

Architect Josh Ehr of Kubala Washatko presented the plans for the building, which will be located on the east side of Walton Drive between Prevea Health Care and the Gateway Center.

"Hiawatha National Bank's newest location will be both a banking branch and their future headquarters," Ehr told the commission.

ST. CROIX VALLEY BUSINESS INNOVATION CENTER OPENS

SBDC Before a crowd of over 200 invited guests, project partners, elected officials and representatives and members of the public, the  St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center (SCVBIC)  opened April 12, 2018 following eight years of plan development.
 
The SCVBIC offers small businesses resources in the way of space for rent, co-working spaces, Wi-Fi, a business incubation program, event hosting and conference rooms, mail service, workshops and seminars, 24-hour access, and business coaching and advising from the UW-River Falls Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
 
The project is a collaborative partnership. The River Falls Economic Development Corporation, the City of River Falls, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Chippewa Valley Technical College are founding partners, with the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation also serving as funding partners.

Considering it took nearly a decade to pull the plan together, the rapid advance of FreshTech is a testament to all the stakeholders that are enabling the much-needed development. 

WISCONSIN EXPORTS REBOUNDING FROM 2010 LOW

Wisconsin Watchdog Wisconsin ranks 19th in total exports out of 53 U.S. states and territories, and 12th for agricultural exports.

Wisconsin's total exports brought in $22.3 billion in revenue in 2017, a six percent increase from the same period last year, according to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Its export revenue has rebounded from its $19.7 billion low in 2010 and surpassed its $20.6 billion peak in 2008.

Exporters provide a valuable resource to the state's economy and steady source of manufacturing jobs, the state notes. Wisconsin's largest export, industrial machinery, accounts for 24 percent of all exports and $5.4 billion in revenue in 2017. Wisconsin is the fourth largest exporter of industrial machinery in the U.S.

It's important to the local economy. A recent analysis stated that 10% of Sheboygan County MSA's jobs were directly connected to export.

SHEBOYGAN COUNTY UNEMPLOYMENT NEARS HISTORICAL LOWS

WORKNET Sheboygan County's March unemployment rate reached 2.6%; the only lower figure in Worknet's history was 1999, which stood at 2.3%. The following year unemployment moved up to 2.8%. 

County workforce numbers are actually accelerating, and for March are now at their highest level since 2009. Since the nadir of the recession, 2011, Sheboygan County employers have added over 7,000 workers to their payrolls, representing over $328 million.
WISCONSIN CHEESE PRODUCTION ACHIEVES ANOTHER RECORD LEVEL

WSJ - While not all cheese is made in the Cheese Capital of the World, a significant amount is manufactured there. This story certainly bodes well for the food cluster here:

Wisconsin strengthened its hold as the country's top cheese producer by making a record 3.37 billion pounds in 2017, which accounted for 26.6 percent of the nation's production, new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows.

It was the 16th straight year that Wisconsin broke its production record set the previous year, according to data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Overall cheese production in the state increased 3.6 in one year.

Nationally, cheese production reached 12.7 billion pounds, a 3.9 percent increase. Eleven of the country's top 14 cheese-producing states increased production in 2017, according to the NASS data. California was the nation's second-leading producer at just over 2.5 billion pounds, which was a one-year drop of less than 1 percent.

Wisconsin's overall production was led by big increases in Hispanic (7 percent), American (5.5 percent) and Italian (3.7) cheese production, the data show.

STEM GRADS OFTEN THE CORE OF TECH LOCATION DECISION

Area Development - P erhaps because of the dot-com boom at the turn of the century, there has been speculation that the surging U.S. technology sector could eventually burst. But this time around, it's not a bubble. Tech adoption is steadily increasing as society becomes more and more dependent on its various forms.

As a result, the industry is growing at an exponential rate. In fact, the tech sector closed 2017 as the largest contributor to U.S. office leasing for the third straight year - responsible for 29.9 million square feet of leasing activity over the calendar year, according to  JLL's U.S. Office Outlook Q4 2017 .

By looking at the top markets with the highest rates of science and math degrees, you'll discover some surprising inclusions. For example, Columbus, Indiana, about 45 miles south of the Indianapolis tech scene, is second only to Silicon Valley. 

Mary Motiska, SCEDC's Special Project Assistant, has started rolling out information to all cities, villages, and townships in Sheboygan County. Each display includes the Annual Report to the Community, as well as brochures on SCEDC's Entrepreneurial Services, Business Retention & Expansion services, and the Sheboygan County Revolving Loan Fund. In the background are testimonials; they can also be found on SCEDC's web site.
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SCEDC Staff contact information: 

Dane Checolinski, Director, Attraction Marketing
C: 920-946-9378
Checolinski@SheboyganCountyEDC.com

Jim Schuessler, Business Development Manager
C: 920-452-2350
Schuessler@SheboyganCountyEDC.com

Sara Spicer, Workforce Development Coordinator
C: 920-946-9379
Spicer@SheboyganCountyEDC.com

Mary Motiska, Special Project Assistant
C: 920-980-0177
Motiska@SheboyganCountyEDC.com
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