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).
Economic data developed by Economic Modeling Specialist International (EMSI) is available from SEWRPC. more
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy
SEWRPC adopted the 2021-2025 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) in September 2021. The CEDS was prepared by the Milwaukee 7 Economic Development Partnership (M7) and SEWRPC, with input from M7’s Regional Economic Partnership (REP) working group and other stakeholders. The CEDS represents a collaborative effort to develop a strategic plan that will 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 M7. More information on the new 2021-2025 CEDS, including the full report and a summary presentation, is available here.
The adopted CEDS, which needs to be updated every five years, maintains eligibility for U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) funding for communities and organizations within Southeastern Wisconsin. EDA’s Public Works and Economic Adjustment programs provide funding for infrastructure projects, revolving loan funds, and business assistance programs, with the funding specifically intended to benefit economically distressed areas. Economically distressed areas, as defined by EDA, have either low incomes, high unemployment rates, or both. A map of distressed areas in Southeastern Wisconsin is available here.
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 14 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.
City of Cudahy Redevelopment District Project Plan Updates
The City of Cudahy collaborated with the Commission to prepare project plan updates for two redevelopment districts: Redevelopment District #1 and Redevelopment District #2. The updated reports incorporate information from the City’s 2021 comprehensive plan update to comply with consistency requirements established under State law. As components of Cudahy’s ongoing community planning and development efforts, the updated project plans build on the City’s history, strengths, and ambitions to promote the highest and best use of lands through infill development and redevelopment.
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.