Business Alliance outlines 2019 policies
Focus to be on workforce, education, government efficiency

By Katherine Michalets

Feb. 20, 2019

WAUKESHA — With small business owners lacking time to advocate for what’s important to them, they often turn to the Waukesha County Business Alliance to work on issues on their behalf.

As a result, the organization has created its set of policies to focus on each year for the past several years. The items go through committees, are presented to the Policy Board for review and then the Alliance Board of Directors has final approval.

This year, the Alliance has decided to focus on five policy areas: workforce development; education; infrastructure and environment; economic development; and government efficiency, collaboration & transparency.

Suzanne Kelley, CEO and president of the Waukesha County Business Alliance, said the policies is a “document that guides advocacy and activities through the year.”

Workforce development

2019 is the first time that workforce development is included as a policy.

“Workforce development is the number one issue facing Waukesha County, the Milwaukee 7 region and our state. An Alliance survey found that more than 85 percent of Waukesha County employers plan to expand their workforce in the next three years, yet 82 percent are unable to find enough qualified workers,” reads the report. “The Alliance is committed to developing, identifying and supporting policy solutions that strengthen our region’s talent pipeline.”

Some of the key focus areas for that policy are: support programs that assists targeted populations in entering or re-entering the workforce and support state and regional efforts to implement a talent attraction program.

Increasing exports

One of the key areas of focus for economic development is the promotion of expanded utilization of programs such as the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership’s ExporTech program to increase exports from Waukesha County and southeastern Wisconsin.

This news made Roxanne Baumann, director of global engagement for Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership, excited.

“Exporting can be confusing and risky when you do it reactively. Great markets exist globally for our Waukesha County manufactured products. This key strategy promotion in Waukesha County affirms the undeniable results achieved; making the process worthy of executive-level consideration,” Baumann said. “An export diversification strategy protects our manufacturers from domestic economic downturns, builds our economy, and creates job opportunities. This recognition now demands the attention of our Waukesha County executive manufacturing leaders.” Kelley said exports are a focus for the Business Alliance because they are “critical to Waukesha County and the state of Wisconsin as a whole.”

“It makes up a big piece of our economy. Waukesha County is a thriving manufacturing area and so exports help to drive the economy of southeastern Wisconsin,” she said.

Government efficiencies

As part of the government efficiency, collaboration & transparency policy, the Alliance will work to advance efforts to promote government efficiencies between various agencies at the state, county and municipal levels, as well as increase transparency for residents of their Emergency Medical Services (EMS) by advocating for publicly available countywide data that shares level of EMS service, responding entity and cost.

To see the complete document, go to