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Accelerating Economic Development

Today in his radio address President Obama said we need to be patient with the economy. The president has had 3 years to turn things around. The economy and unemployment are significantly worse under his watch. There are things that can be done and the MMAC has ideas.

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) has a plan to accelerate economic development. The plan was published as part “The Blueprint for Economic Prosperity” they recently published. (http://www.mmac.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=PublicPolicyAgenda&category=PublicPolicy&submenu=PublicPolicyAgenda)

Their web site states “Alongside traditional economic development activities, MMAC has developed imitative and programs to accelerate economic growth by broadening its impact and extending its reach.”

One of those initiatives is FUEL Milwaukee. Business needs to attract and retain a capable talented workforce. FUEL Milwaukee helps employees and employers to connect. FUEL engages professionals (mostly under 40) in a network of peers with opportunities to grow, volunteer, learn and have fun. This helps those involved to broaden their network. Those more connected and involved in the community are more likely to stay. Brain drain has been a real problem in the past for Milwaukee.

According to the Great Places to Work Institute, Milwaukee ranks 1st in the nation for the number of “Great Places to Work” per capita. We have great places to work and a pool of educated willing workers. FUEL Milwaukee also provides a key connection for human resources professionals to market their company and region to highly talented professionals.

The MMAC has a diversity initiative. They feel if the number of minority owned businesses were aligned with our populations, it would mean another $2.3 billion in revenue. Diversity brings strength to an economy. The goal is to serve ethnically diverse firms. The Business Council serves ethnically diverse firms and helps them to increase their ability to do business. The cornerstone of the program is the Supplier Diversity Module. This connects minority owned business firms to corporate and public sector work. So far $135.5 million in spending has occurred through this program.

The MMAC is supporting new ways to think, act and innovate to continue prosperity and create jobs. One such program is the Milwaukee World Trade Organization. This helps companies to develop international business relationships though a network of 400 members. MMAC’s China Business Council has helped members enter this market.

MMAC is also helping to attract foreign investment through their regional Immigrant Investor Zone. The program offers green cards to foreign investors and their family members for a minimum investment of $500,000 and the creation of 10 new jobs.

These programs are an example of some of the things the private sector can do to create jobs. The MMAC should be applauded for their efforts.

Contact: Chris can be reached though her web site at www.run4cmt.com or at run4cmt@yahoo.com

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