WAUKESHA - For a year the
staff at the Waukesha County Center for Growth has been meeting with
companies in the hopes of convincing them to build, expand or move
to Waukesha County. And so far, the response has been strong, said
Economic Development Director Tim Casey.
"We are finding that people
need to and want to expand and we are helping them access the
resources that allow them to do that," he said. "We are following a
strategy and I think things are going well. We are tracking and we
need to continue to push forward and be diligent."
Since forming in July 2016,
Center for Growth staff members have met with 176 companies and 12
municipalities have committed to working with the center on
collaborative economic development efforts.
The organization, spearheaded
by Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow and then awarded to the
Waukesha County Business Alliance to oversee, focuses on promoting
the county as a place for current businesses to expand and for
others to relocate. It provides workforce, financial and location
selection assistance for businesses while helping to develop
strategies for connecting various companies with additional
The goal is to meet with 25
companies per quarter, Casey said, so the center is already
exceeding its goals. Of the approximate 33 manufacturers that Casey
and other center staff members have met with, about 15 are
candidates for expansion.
Karen Taylor, business
consultant for the center, has met with 80 companies and 45 have
signed on as clients.
The Center for Growth also
works with the Waukesha County Business Alliance, WEDC and Milwaukee
One of the companies
expanding and adding jobs is Metal-Era on Airport Road in Waukesha,
which will break ground on a 32,000-square-foot expansion Tuesday
morning and will add about 32 jobs.
The Center for Growth helps
companies find financing for their projects and also is addressing
the labor force shortage.
"When we can, we work with
the school districts and Waukesha County Technical College, WOW
Workforce Development Center Board and Employ Milwaukee to help them
find the labor they are looking for; that is one of the most
important things we can do for them," Casey said.
By the numbers
176: company visits, contacts
25: prospects for new
location or expansion
8: new locations, expansions
$15 million: capital
expenditures by business
194: jobs created or pledged
12: Waukesha County
municipalities who've partnered
61: companies connected to
-Data from July 2016 to