Forget the doom and gloom; Wisconsin manufacturers still know how to compete. It's a sector of the state's economy that's taken some major hits over the past twenty years, but manufacturing in Wisconsin is still a major jobs provider. "There were many people that were willing to write off manufacturing in this state," notes Mike Klonsinski, executive director of the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership. "They underestimated some of the resiliency and entrepreneurship of our existing manufacturing base."
In fact, Klonsinski says firms which WEMP aided last year produced an economic benefit to the state of $137 million dollars, much of if from new markets in the U.S. and overseas. Klonsinski says the state's manufacturing output increased by more than two billion dollars last year. That continued growth comes with a challenge: finding workers to fill manufacturing jobs. "We've a significant number of manufacturing workers retiring in the next couple of years," says Klonsinski.