Economic development in Southeastern Wisconsin is conducted by county and local economic and community development organizations, including economic development corporations or agencies established by each of the seven counties in the Region. The Milwaukee 7 (M7) provides a regional, cooperative economic development platform for the seven counties. The M7 mission is to attract, retain, and grow diverse businesses and talent through export driver industries and emerging business clusters; to strengthen the Region’s capacity to innovate; and to enhance the competitiveness of the Region. SEWRPC serves as a resource through its staff, data, and plans to the County economic development organizations (EDOs) and the M7 as they seek to maintain and expand the regional economy.
The M7 and SEWRPC also work directly with the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Economic Partnership (REP). The REP includes representatives from the seven county EDOs or staff, the City of Milwaukee, We Energies, M7, and SEWRPC. This group of practitioners operates on an informal basis, and predated the creation of the M7 organization in 2005. The REP meets regularly to coordinate economic development planning with SEWRPC, the M7, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).
EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance
Attention Planners, Engineers, Directors of Public Works, and Community and Economic Development Staff of Southeastern Wisconsin, applications are now being accepted for U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) CARES Act recovery assistance. More information regarding this opportunity is available on the EDA website, and starting on page 46 of the Notice of Funding Opportunity. The CARES Act funds were appropriated under the Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, and $225 million was allocated for Chicago Regional Office to distribute. Applications are being accepted for a wide variety of projects under this program, including construction of infrastructure and other economic development projects. It is also important to note that all counties and local governments are eligible for EDA CARES Act funding and the EDA generally expects to fund between 80 percent and 100 percent of eligible project costs. A key consideration in these applications will be an estimated number of jobs the project could create. SEWRPC may be able to provide assistance with job creation estimates upon request. Please contact Ben McKay of the Commission staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or (262) 953-3229 if you would like more information regarding SEWRPC resources that may help in submitting an application.
Economic data developed by Economic Modeling Specialist International (EMSI) is available from SEWRPC. more
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy
SEWRPC is continuing a regional partnership to prepare a new Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the Region. During 2014 and 2015, SEWRPC worked in partnership with the Milwaukee 7 (M7), Regional Economic Partnership (REP), and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to develop the Region’s first CEDS. The CEDS is designed to bring together the public and private sectors to develop a strategic plan to diversify and strengthen the Region’s economy. The CEDS also provides for a more widespread understanding of the ongoing economic development work program in the Region, which draws heavily from the work of the M7. More information on the current CEDS is available here.
In addition, adoption of a CEDS by a county board makes the county and local governments in the county with economically distressed areas eligible to apply for grants under the Public Works and Economic Adjustment programs administered by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). The economically distressed areas of the Region have either low incomes, high unemployment rates, or both. A map of distressed areas in the Region is available here.
The EDA programs provide funding for infrastructure projects, revolving loan funds, and business assistance programs. In addition, Federal agencies look favorably on joint/regional planning efforts when reviewing other grants for proposed projects. The current CEDS was adopted by each of the County Boards in the Region and the Commission in 2015. A new CEDS should be adopted every five years for county and local governments to remain eligible to apply for funding under the EDA programs. Draft materials related to the new CEDS will be posted on this webpage as they become available.
Business Parks and Absorption Studies
SEWRPC is working with County EDOs and local government planners to compile a list of existing and proposed business parks in each County in the Region and to prepare Industrial Land Absorption Studies. more
SEWRPC worked with the Waukesha County Center for Growth and We Energies to prepare economic profiles for 12 participating communities in Waukesha County. The profiles highlight community assets that help to attract, retain, and grow businesses within each community and throughout the County. Each profile includes a history of the community as well as information on demographics, housing, educational opportunities, healthcare facilities, transportation, business/industrial parks, labor force, major employment sectors, and contact information for local governments and utilities.
The Waukesha County Center for Growth was created in 2016 in partnership with the City of Waukesha, Waukesha County Business Alliance, Wisconsin Small Business Development Center, and local governments.
Aerotropolis Milwaukee Development Plan: A Shared Vision for the Communities Around the Airport
Aerotropolis Milwaukee is a public-private partnership of business leaders and local representatives from nine communities in Milwaukee County focused on promoting economic growth around General Mitchell International Airport. The Commission staff worked with The Gateway to Milwaukee and Milwaukee Gateway Aerotropolis Corporation to prepare a development plan that establishes a shared vision and coordinated effort to capitalize on the Airport to stimulate economic investment, promote job growth, and enhance the quality of life in the nine Aerotropolis Milwaukee communities. The plan is designed to be used as a reference tool for local governments and agencies to aid in decision making relative to future land use changes and strategic investments. The plan is available here and more information on Aerotropolis Milwaukee is available here.