State News

Walker launches campaign to bring college graduates back to Wisconsin

Gov. Scott Walker is proposing a new $6.8 million campaign to attract young workers to Wisconsin.

Image By: Katie Scheidt

Gov. Scott Walker announced the launch of a $6.8 million marketing proposal aimed to attract and retain workers in the state at the Future Wisconsin Summit Wednesday.

Amid a growing trend in Wisconsin of UW System students leaving the state after graduation, Walker encouraged members of the business community to support his plan to retain those young professionals at the summit.

“It’s not enough to just give speeches and talks, we have to put a whole campaign behind this,” Walker urged business owners at the summit, saying they should contact lawmakers to vote for the proposed funds.

Wisconsin is projected to be in need of approximately 45,000 workers in the next seven years to compensate for an aging population and low unemployment. These jobs are centered in the manufacturing, information technology and services and nursing sectors, among others.

To reach students who feel there is nothing keeping them in the state, the campaign will target young professionals in large cities outside the Wisconsin.

Walker said the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the state’s Tourism Department plan to combat these unfavorable opinions of living in Wisconsin after graduation with a series of messages in locations targeting young people, such as Chicago subways.

Posters with the slogan “in Wisconsin, you’d be home by now,” will hang around several transportation stations. The hope is to market Wisconsin as a practical alternative to big city life.

Differing from an original WEDC proposal called “Think, Make, Happen” that had a budget of $1 million, the increased funds will allow the new, unnamed program to reach cities such as Minneapolis and Detroit, according to officials.

In addition to encouraging young graduates to work and live in Wisconsin, $3.5 of the $6.8 million would go to appeals to military veterans and their families. The campaign also gives $300,000 to develop a mobile resource center that would aid in bringing recruitment services to rural parts of Wisconsin.

Foxconn’s plan to open a factory between Chicago and Milwaukee reiterates the need to “get more bodies” in the state to work in the technology giant’s facility, according to Walker.

Critics of Foxconn say employees will not live in the state and will instead commute to the factory from locations like Chicago, taking resources away from Wisconsin.

“Gov. Walker sold a bill of goods to the Wisconsin public by saying it would create new jobs for Wisconsinites,” Democratic gubernatorial candidate and state Rep. Dana Wachs, told the Wisconsin State Journal. “Apparently, what he really means was that the jobs would go to workers from Chicago.”

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