Series: Wisconsin's 21st-Century Workforce

Manufacturing and agriculture have historically reigned supreme in Wisconsin's economy. But automation and consolidation in those sectors, and a shifting emphasis toward service- and technology-based industries, means the nature of work is changing rapidly. As workers across the state seek to start their careers, pursue better jobs, or find themselves struggling to reap the benefits of economic growth, they're looking for new opportunities wherever they might find them, including outside Wisconsin. As demographic and workforce shifts shape the state's future, political and business leaders are looking to attract and retain workers with advanced skills and education. These efforts are related to larger forces affecting Wisconsin's future, including population decline in rural areas, the role of higher education, and how public resources are used to develop the economy.
 
The state of Wisconsin's efforts to attract and retain a younger workforce are coinciding with a growing public reckoning in Madison and surrounding Dane County with the fact that many of its minority residents don't necessarily experience the city as welcoming or inclusive
Cost of living isn't a standardized, hard-and-fast mathematical concept. Looking into how it's defined and applied to specific places reveals less about empirical economic differences and more about the nuanced and fluid ways in which people make decisions about money and opportunity and lifestyle.
Gov. Scott Walker and state economic development officials want to spend about $7 million on a marketing campaign to entice young, college-educated workers to move to Wisconsin.
Low hourly wages, the lack of professional development opportunities and a high turnover rate are major factors contributing to the state's preschool teacher shortage, experts say.
Opportunities exist to improve Wisconsin’s education pipeline and create a future with competitive wages, innovative industry and entrepreneurial activity.
Experts say Wisconsin's quality of life is contributing to the state's shrinking workforce and the lack of workers to replace retiring baby boomers.
As in many other places in the U.S. and around the world, Wisconsin is getting older, enough so that its aging population will have profound economic consequences.
In an economic debate that can devolve into a pitched battle over philosophers and welders, several University of Wisconsin-based researchers believe businesses, policymakers, and educators could strike a balance.