JOBS FOR THE NEXT GENERATION
Hot. That’s how to describe the Milwaukee job market. Even before Foxconn announced its plans to create 13,500 jobs to create the next generation of LCD displays, southeastern Wisconsin was already enjoying very high employment. From the western shores of Lake Michigan to the rolling hills of western Waukesha and Washington counties, entrepreneurs, businesses and civic leaders continue to strengthen a region that boasts leading technology firms, global manufacturers, innovative service firms and strong financial institutions. The seven-county region flourishes with more than 47,000 businesses and a gross economic product of more than $100 billion that is provided by a healthy balance of long-time manufacturing icons thriving alongside cutting-edge technology and e-commerce companies.
An Emerging Tech City
The Milwaukee Region, ranked as an up-and-coming tech city by Forbes magazine, features a solid, high-tech base. Milwaukee is a leader in the production of medical diagnostic instruments, industrial robots, automation controls, electronic controls, software development, power distribution, water technologies, supply chain and just-in-time distribution.
Medical Research & Technology
Southeastern Wisconsin is a leader in health care quality and research. Medical College of Wisconsin scientists lead biomedical and population health advancements through laboratory research, clinical trials and community-engaged research. Its faculty researchers conduct 2,000 studies annually with more than $144 million in government and private funding. The Blood Center of Wisconsin and its affiliate, the Blood Research Institute, play major roles in research regarding immunobiology, transfusion medicine and stem cell biology.
The Milwaukee Region is home to several internationally recognized medical technology and biotech firms. GE Healthcare, a global leader in medical imaging and information technologies, patient monitoring systems and health care services, employs nearly 6,000 people at multiple facilities in the region. Other medical technology firms, include Vesta, Cambridge Major Laboratories, Mortara Instrument, Criticare Systems, and Bradshaw Medical.
Manufacturing remains a very important engine for the region’s economy. Fifteen percent of the workforce is employed by manufacturers, well above the 9-percent average nationally. Two locally based industrial companies are on the Fortune 500 list: Harley-Davidson and Rockwell Automation (Milwaukee). Two other industrial companies based in the region have revenues greater than $3 billion: Quad/Graphics (Sussex) and SC Johnson (Racine).
Fast-growing Service Sector
The service sector has been the fastest-growing segment of the regional economy. Five Milwaukee-area service companies are ranked as Fortune 500 companies: ManpowerGroup, Northwestern Mutual, and WEC Energy Group (Milwaukee) and Kohl’s Corp. (Menomonee Falls) and Fiserv (Brookfield). Two other service companies based in the region have revenues in excess of $3 billion: Aurora Health Care and Northwestern Mutual (Milwaukee).
Food & Beverage
Wisconsin is home to nearly 1,200 food and beverage manufacturers, ranking fifth in the nation and employing more than 67,000 people. Southeastern Wisconsin accounts for the largest concentration of food and beverage manufacturers in the state with more than 250 companies employing nearly 15,000 people. The region’s legacy brands include: Gardetto’s, Gehl’s, Johnsonville, Klement’s, Leinenkugel’s, MillerCoors, Pabst, Palermo’s, Patrick Cudahy, Sargento and Usinger’s. Global brands with operations here include: Birds Eye, Campbell’s, Cargill, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Nestlé, Pepsi and Smith Field. And foreign direct investment includes: Chr. Hansen, Kerry, Kikkoman, Seda, Lesaffre/Red Star Yeast, Malteurop, Nature’s Path, Purato’s, and Haribo.
Printing & Publishing
Tens of thousands of people are employed in creative enterprises in the metropolitan region. Quad/Graphics, based in suburban Sussex, is one of the largest printing companies in the world. Other major printers based in the region include Arandell Corp., which produces direct-mail catalogs and demographically targeted marketing products, and Serigraph, which specializes in industrial and point-of-purchase printing.
The seven-county area is becoming a nationally recognized hub for green technologies. Johnson Controls is significantly expanding its research into automotive batteries and energy-efficient buildings. The Milwaukee area also is home to several companies developing energy-saving or alternative energy technologies, including Ingeteam, a Spanish company that manufactures alternative energy equipment in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and several of the region’s private-sector employers are working together to develop microgrid technologies that will be able to store renewable energy.
Milwaukee is home to several companies focused on increasing the efficiency of autos, trucks and other types of transportation. Modine is an international pioneer in thermal management technologies. Magnetek and Actuant have entered the market for power inverters, which are key to using the power generated by wind turbines and solar panels.
Eaton Cooper Power Systems, which produces integrated, smart-grid technologies to optimize grid performance, recently expanded its South Milwaukee facility to meet the demand for the technology.