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Entries for August 2016

28

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

If raw numbers are a clear indicator of decline or growth, the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport's operational statistics in the last half-decade would seem uninspiring. Yet those stats don't reflect the millions of dollars the county-run airport and private developers have spent in the last few years to upgrade and modernize the facility and boost its use.

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23

(Janesville, WI) Elliot Hughes, Gazette

The highest offices in a downtown Janesville building soon will be occupied by at least 80 employees of SHINE Medical Technologies after the city council approved a tax increment financing deal Monday.

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21

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Mike Mathews, the Innovation Center's operations director, said his six tenants have grown to occupy 70 percent of office and manufacturing space at the 22,000-square-foot business incubator at 2949 Innovation Drive.

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19

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

Blackhawk Community Credit Union plans to build a branch in Janesville on the city's south side, an expansion the credit union says is intended to key on new business growth.

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18

(Beloit, WI) Erin Kelly, Beloit Daily News

Golf enthusiasts may have a new place to tee off.

Geronimo Hospitality Group filed an application with the City of Beloit to construct an indoor entertainment venue with a golf simulation lab in the Ironworks complex at 625-701 Third St, according to city records.

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17

(Madison, WI) Kathleen Gallager, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Badger Fund of Funds said Tuesday it has raised more than $10 million of capital from private investors, double what was required by the state legislation that launched it.

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16

(Janesvillle, WI) Gregg Bosak, SW Workforce Development Board

A recent award of $150,000 to the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB) will help to improve the region’s and Wisconsin’s already strong apprenticeship program and job opportunities. 

Titled WAGE$ (Wisconsin Apprenticeship Growth and Enhancement Strategies), the project is expected to help register new apprenticeships in 12 high-growth occupations in Advanced Manufacturing, Healthcare, and IT industries, expanding upon already-existing programs, many of them already offered through schools such as Blackhawk and Southwest Wisconsin Technical College

“We have a nationally-recognized apprenticeship program, but to keep and improve upon this status, we need to ensure our talent development continues to grow and expand,” said Rhonda Suda, CEO of the SWWDB. “Apprenticeships are an outstanding way for individuals to enter and grow in high-wage careers.” 

It is anticipated that statewide up to 1,000 new apprentices and 542 additional incumbent workers will undergo training and skills development within a five-year period. The federal grant of $5 million to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) came from the U.S. Department of Labor. DWD’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) awarded the local grants. 

DWD and the SWWDB will work in collaboration with the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and the Wisconsin Workforce Development Association (WWDA) to develop a framework to help promote and deliver registered apprenticeship programs. Existing programs such as Veterans in Piping (VIP) provided by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the 18 Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry (UA), and the Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT) programs will be leveraged to provide entry points for specific underrepresented populations. 

WAGE$ is the latest step DWD is taking to modernize and position apprenticeship programs as a national model. Nationally DOL hopes to train and hire more than 34,000 new apprentices over the next five years.

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16

(Janesville, WI) Neil Johnson, Gazette

An industrial building that once housed a Janesville candy maker will now house steel for a roofing supplier with roots in the eastern United States, a local commercial real estate firm said.

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02

(Rock County, WI)  According to the quarterly release of the 2016 Rock Ready Index, Rock County’s economy continues to exhibit both growth and stability characteristics. Highlights from the Q2 report include the following:

Unemployment rates, as measured by annual averages, continued to track along levels that were common during 2005-2007. With rates hovering around the five percent mark and job openings consistently exceeding the 20,000 threshold, employers are ramping-up their employee retention and recruitment efforts. Increased wages to enhanced benefits packages, as well as a host other creative approaches, are increasingly becoming the norm vs. the exception. In response to these trends, www.JobsInRockCounty.com was developed as a tool for the human resources community, third party recruiters and job seekers. Since its launch earlier this spring, this online employment and information portal continues to gain favorable attention from employers and job seekers alike.

Rock County’s residential market continues to surge upward, as Q2 2016 established a record setting pace for price points and transactional activities. With average single-family home prices exceeding $151,000 and the total number of sales approaching 750, the residential supply chain has definitely been reinvigorated. Dormant subdivisions are now active; isolated infill lots have become attractive development sites; and discussions regarding those Phase II or Phase III developments are being revisited.

From a disposable income lens, the area’s cash registers are ringing at a brisk pace: Q2 2016 set yet another record at $3.34 Million. Since 2014, the County’s sales & use tax collections have exceeded the $3 Million threshold seven out of ten quarters. If the economy remains on its current trajectory, there is a strong chance that total collections for YR 2016 could exceed $12.5 Million.  

Energy consumption, as measured by the number of meters and usage, continued to display more weather vs. economic related shifts. Even when factoring in steady commitments to energy efficiencies – across different utility customer segments – energy demand remained strong. 

Lastly, the dashboard’s Project Profile section provided a sampling of various economic development projects that were announced during Q2 2016. Five of the six highlighted projects represent existing businesses that are expanding. Meanwhile, one project represents the continuation of sizable residential investments in or near Edgerton’s Central Business District.

The Rock Ready Index (RRI) is a quarterly economic development dashboard compiled and distributed by the Rock County Development Alliance. The RRI covers four topical areas: Workforce (Job Postings and Unemployment Rates), Real Estate (Residential, Commercial or Industrial) Trends, Sales (Tax Collection) Activities and Energy Consumption (Meters & Usage). Each Index also includes a Project Profile section, which highlights project specific news during a given quarter.

For additional information, visit www.RockCountyAlliance.com .

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