Economic/Workforce Development

Economic Development


Issue #1: Workforce Training & Retention Pipeline

Data: According to a 2022 US Chamber of Commerce report

- Wisconsin Worker shortage crisis is considered “More Severe”

- Wisconsin has 58 workers for every 100 job openings

- 221,000 Job openings

- 102,116 unemployed workers

The statewide data is staggering and we know rural communities often lack the resources to

adequately address the workforce training skills, upskills and retention gaps. We support

additional resources for colleges and universities to expand their capacity and build upon proven

strategies that successfully move students through programs aligned to address the workforce

shortage. Expanding capacity and by meeting the growing demands that are needed to build a

talented workforce with industry-aligned skills, is necessary for long term success.


Dental Therapy and Oral Healthcare Workforce Investments - Support SB689,

SB702/AB667 and similar legislation that would address the shortage of quality

dental services in rural and underserved communities.

Issue #2 Support programs, policies, and tax incentives to strengthen the early childcare

workforce. Employer Child Care Tax Credit SB 623/AB660, tax credits and/or incentives

for employers who share in the cost of employee child care. Incentives for school

districts to create before and after school programs. Remove burdensome regulation

barriers in order to increase access to affordable childcare for Wisconsin rural working


Data: According to a February 2023 Wisconsin Economic Development Institute report

- Approximately 4 out of 5 Wisconsin employers say the state economy is impacted by

parent’s access to affordable, high-quality childcare.

- Two-thirds of employers say childcare is a way to retain valuable employees.

- The long-term economic impact of Wisconsin’s childcare crisis is estimated at $4.2 to

$6.4 billion.

- The average Wisconsin family with one infant is spending 1/5 of their annual income on


- Typical family with an infant and 4-year-old are spending 1/3 of their annual income on


- Rural employees report that issues with childcare are affecting their ability to work.

Impacts include being late to work, unable to focus or be as productive while at work, and

even keeping otherwise healthy able to work parents out of the workforce.

- Businesses are reporting the childcare crisis is affecting their ability to recruit and retain


Issue #3: Housing Development - Support policies that encourage the development of

workforce housing in communities across Wisconsin, including tax credits,

infrastructure supports, TIF incentives, creative financing tools, zoning and land use

reforms to encourage development in rural communities.

AB124/SB293 Infrastructure Revolving Loan Fund, AB268/SB295 Commercial to Housing

Revolving Loan Fund, AB265/SB294 Main Street Housing Rehabilitation Revolving Loan


Data: According to WHEDA, the shortage of affordable workforce housing in rural Wisconsin

poses far-reaching challenges. Access to safe, affordable shelter is fundamental to the

sustainability of our communities because housing provides a foundation for public health,

economic well-being and environmental stewardship. If Wisconsin is to thrive, rural communities

require effective tools and support to develop greater workforce housing.

Without stable, decent quality affordable homes near jobs it is harder and harder to recruit and

retain talent especially in the Northern region of the state. The shortage of workforce housing

makes it incredibly difficult for businesses to sustain themselves, muchless grow. Employers

struggle to recruit and retain workers due to lack of housing and it is a detriment to our

economic sustainability. We support access to public/private partnerships, the ability to

incentivize developers through tax incentives and grants and incentives that will spur investment

in the region.

Issue #4 Business Development Tax Credit Revision SB 585/AB627

We support revisions to the Business Development Tax Credit and/or incentive programs

to ensure they align with today's economic realities in order to remain powerful tools that

can promote business attraction, expansion and incentivise innovation, the use of

technology and automation to address the rural business environment including

workforce and childcare shortages.

Data: According to the Tax Foundation Wisconsin's Tax System ranks 24th in Business Tax


The statewide data is staggering and we know rural communities often lack the resources to

adequately address the workforce training skills, upskills and retention gaps.

The current Wisconsin Business Development Tax Credit has become outdated in recent years

due to the leaps in technology, transportation and automation just to name a few. The state's

Business Tax Credit should address today's evolving needs of new and existing businesses and

provide businesses the tools and incentives needed to address the workforce shortage and

skills gaps especially in rural communities. Addressing incentives that are no longer relevant in

today's climate, incentivise businesses to innovate, automate and address issues affecting their

workforce like affordable housing and childcare shortages their employees are facing in rural