Central Wisconsin’s labor force has a long tradition of working harder and smarter

The Centergy Region of Central Wisconsin and the surrounding area are home to a highly productive labor force of more than 315,000 people, many of them direct descendants of the hard-working pioneers who carved our state out of the native woods and prairies. For generations, our residents have been steeped in that pioneer work ethic, taking pride in performing a job well done, and in finding better and smarter ways to do things. Today, you’ll see that commitment to productivity and innovation throughout our region.

It’s supported by an education system that’s focused on delivering the skills that local employers tell us they need. Our K-12 schools have impressive graduation rates, but that’s not nearly as important as the knowledge those graduates gain during their prime learning years. Local public and private school districts offer career-oriented programs in fields such as agriculture, food, medicine, information technology, robotics, software/hardware, culinary arts, welding, and precision machining. With the area’s focus on innovation, it’s no surprise that Project Lead the Way’s classes are popular, as are co-op work and apprenticeship programs.

Workplace education begins before graduation, and the Centergy region is full of postsecondary education providers who deliver traditional and adult education courses in fields such as ag/food research, medical, life sciences, informatics, information technology, business, customer service, software, graphic design, culinary arts, electrical engineering, precision machining, metals, welding, wood technology, and many others requested by local employers. Programs and incentives are available for both onsite and offsite training.

Those educational efforts are bolstered by community efforts to attract and retain talented workers. The INSPIRE program serves as a portal to connect 6-12 students with the needs and expectations of area employers. Annual talent summits and CEO roundtables ensure that efforts by schools, area organizations, and employers are well-aligned. A growing number of CEO peer councils are offering mentorship support to students and student organizations and strengthening the connection between educators and the business community.

Five-county region workforce: 174,706

Additional Resources