MadREP Report: March 8, 2018
Workforce Housing Becoming Hot Topic in Madison Region

As the labor shortage for the Madison region and the state continues, the corresponding shortage of workforce housing is more and more becoming a topic of conversation in economic development.  This issue is certainly on the radar of MadREP, and it is clearly on the minds of our ED Pro partner communities across the region.  
In November of last year, the Village of Mt. Horeb published the results of their just-completed Housing Market Study.  In terms of workforce housing, out-takes from the study include:
  • The need for additional rental options has become even more acute and with growth in jobs in the Village, the needs will grow even more.
  • Rental housing needs to be developed at a variety of price points and include amenities that are attractive to those coming to the community to work.
  • Employees perceive that the community is not affordable because they can't afford housing they find appealing.   They are looking for starter homes, and a range of ownership options, including duplexes and condos.
  • There is a need for units that are affordable to those making less than the housing wage.
  • Mount Horeb can expect that an overall aging of the Village population. Appropriate housing options must be developed for this growing population. The care needs of this population will result in a need for employees to support and care for the population. This group will also need affordable housing options. 
Far from being the exception, the results from Mt. Horeb echo largely what we are hearing from across the Madison region.  In addition to the Mt. Horeb study, Dane County finished a housing study in 2017, Thrive Economic Development (formerly the Glacial Heritage Development Partnership) is currently studying the issue in Jefferson and Dodge Counties, and Sauk County is planning to launch a housing study in the upcoming months.  Just like these partners, MadREP views this housing problem as a high priority this year and will continue to engage developers and our government collaborators to facilitate the creation of more housing options for our very scarce but highly valuable labor pool.

WI Brownfields Coalition Grant Funds Still Available
The WI Brownfields Coalition, a collaborative effort of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin's nine Regional Planning Commissions (including CARPC), received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in late 2016 for the WAM Program. There is currently still about $350,000 available for new projects. If you are aware of any sites in your community that could benefit from the WAM Program, contact the program administrator, Tom Coogan, at (608) 267-7560 or via email . For more information about the WAM Program, including eligibility requirements, you can also visit the program website

Innovation & Entrepreneurship:  
Industrious raises $80 million to grow its premium coworking spaces across the U.S.
Coworking space provider  Industrious has raised $80 million in a series C round of funding led by Riverwood Capital and Fifth Wall Ventures, with participation from Alrai, Outlook, Rabina Properties, Schechter Private Capital, and Wells Fargo Strategic Capital.   Founded out of Brooklyn in 2013, Industrious pitches itself as a "premium workplace platform" that provides companies with coworking office space, services, management, hospitality, and more. The company claims more than 30 locations across 25 cities in the U.S., with clients including Lyft, Pinterest, GM, and Pandora.  (NOTE: One of Industrious' locations is in Madison.)

Labor Reduction:   
Uniek in Waunakee announces job cuts

A Waunakee company that at one time was the largest producer of plastic picture frames in the country announced Wednesday that it will eliminate 58 jobs and cease production of picture frames to focus on other home decor products.  The move by Uniek will leave the company with about one fourth of the number of employees it had in 2008 when it employed 400 people and manufactured picture frames for some of the country's biggest retailers.  The job cuts will begin April 30 and be completed by June 30, according to a notification letter submitted by the company to the state Department of Workforce Development.  "This layoff is due to a reduction in manufacturing operations at this facility but will not impact all employees at this facility," wrote Ed DeMeo, a Uniek vice president. "These layoffs are expected to be permanent."

New Business Development: 
Distillery, brewery slated for ex-St. Coletta campus
A portion of the former St. Coletta of Wisconsin campus is set to become a distillery, cidery and brewery with limited production beginning this year.
On Tuesday, Shannan De Witt, founder of FLEX Consulting, Waterloo, presented the Jefferson Common Council Committee of the Whole with her multi-phased vision for The Ordinary: A Distillery, Cidery and Brewery Destination. Some components of De Witt's ultimate plan include the sale of cider, beer and distilling products; an on-site tasting room; event space for private, regional and corporate gatherings; storage for aging product; a restaurant; and private biking, hiking, running and dog trails. Also, she expects to employ 25 to 50 people within the next three years.  

Innovation & Entrepreneurship:
Madison sleep startup gets $1.5 million
EnsoData, a healthcare artificial intelligence startup from Madison, has closed on a $1.5 million financing round and is planning to double its staff and develop new software as a result, according to story from a PE Hub Network.  The seed funding was led by Colle Capital and also included HealthX Ventures, Sternhill Associates, Wisconsin Investment Partners, and M25 Group.  EnsoData's software automates data collection to help sleep clinicians better analyze sleeping disorders.

New Business Development: 
Another development coming to Milton business park
Vacant, city-owned land in Milton's east-side industrial park is almost gone now that another proposed development has received city council approval.  The council unanimously agreed last week to sell 8 acres to Badger Properties for $1. In return, the developer will build a 60,000-square-foot light manufacturing and office facility at the northeast corner of County M and Putman Parkway, City Administrator Al Hulick said.  Milton also will provide a loan of $240,000. The city will forgive the loan over a 10-year period as long as the new facility maintains an annual value of $1.6 million, Hulick said.


Workforce Development:  
Youth apprenticeship bears fruit for student in Portage 
His 40-minute drives to Fall River paid off, and he thinks more underclassmen should know what he didn't.  "The knowledge and experience I've gained at E.K. Machine is priceless," said Trevor Aldridge, a CESA 5 Youth Apprentice from Portage High School who last week received the Youth in Manufacturing Award from the Dodge County Manufacturing Business Alliance.  Aldridge said he didn't know what he was getting into when he signed up for the company's quality assurance apprenticeship in July - not exactly. He'd nearly decided against it, in part because it's a long drive. Seven months later, his postsecondary options ballooned.  "Your college will look at this highly, and you'll get a step up on everybody else," he said of his apprenticeship. "It is by far worth the drive."

Business Expansion:
United Alloy announces expansion

A Janesville manufacturer will expand its plant over the coming year and add about 50 new jobs over the next six months with the help of city and state money. The jobs are part of a planned increase of 66 jobs over the next three years that was announced previously.  United Alloy's expansion includes a new, 100,000-square-foot building that will be built on 17 acres the city sold to the company for $1.  The building will house a high-volume metal-coating operation to coat the large metal tanks, chassis and other components the company makes.  United Alloy will pay new workers $12 an hour to take an eight-week welder/fabricator course at Blackhawk Technical College's Milton campus. The company also will pay the $2,560 tuition, said Tom Baer, company chairman and founder.

Industry Supply Chain:
Foxconn supply chain details a work in progress

The lure of Foxconn Technology Group's planned $1.4 billion in purchases from Wisconsin companies has prompted nearly 800 businesses to put their information on the Wisconsin Supply Chain Marketplace, but what Foxconn will actually need from those companies and how firms can interact with the Taiwanese tech giant remains a bit of a mystery.  The Marketplace, an online tool developed by Green Bay-area economic development group The New North with support from WEDC, allows companies to create profiles to detail the markets the company serves and where it is strongest.

Global Cyber Security:

Protecting Your Assets
March 13

From global thought leaders at Davos to individual IT managers in Midwestern companies, cyber security threats weigh heavy on our minds.   And, changing regulations, particularly the EU's Global Data Protection Regulations, will most definitely have an impact your business.
Join the Madison International Trade Association and cyber security thought leaders for this unique session. Learn what you need to do to be both Proactive and Protected.

Federal role in manufacturing, cybersecurity  topic of Innovation Network lunch
March 27

Helping Wisconsin manufacturers of all sizes compete by improving production processes, adding technology capacity and enhancing cybersecurity will be the theme of this 
luncheon meeting in Madison.
A panel of experts will describe the work of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a 30-year-old federal program, and the National Institute of Standard and Technology, which provides advice on Internet of Things, blockchain and cybersecurity among other services and research.

More information

Edgewood College Accepting Applications For Pre-Engineering Program Coordinator

Edgewood College is looking for a person with engineering experience/familiarity who will oversee the fab lab and student projects, teach an introductory course in engineering, assist with the teaching of introductory physics when needed,  and generally oversee the pre-engineering program 

ExporTech  3-Session Training
April 10, May 8, June 12

Forward- thinking Wisconsin companies are taking advantage of the explosive growth seen in other parts of the world. Today, 95% of consumers are outside the United States.  Develop a customized, action-oriented export expansion strategy with ExporTech. Graduates have achieved sales increases averaging $900k in 6-9 months after completing the program. 

Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce IceBreaker Luncheon April 12

The Chamber's fourth annual IceBreaker will bring together 1,000 current and future business leaders.Keynote speakers:  Syovata Edari, trial lawyer and owner of CocoVaa Chocolatier; Gen. Marcia Anderson - the first African-American woman major general in the history of the U.S. Army; and Dr. Julia Nepper,  who at age 23 is one of the youngest Ph.D. recipients in the country, having embarked on a remarkable academic journey that brought her to Greater Madison  .


Retail Event
April 18

CARW and ICSC are proud to
present the State's largest annual retail event. Join us for an afternoon of featured speakers, industry roundtables, a project showcase, retail runway and the best networking with retail and commercial real estate professionals. More than 400 attended the event last year from across the State and region.

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

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