Training, Education and Research
With more than 30 universities and colleges calling the area home, the Milwaukee Region offers a wealth of research, education and training opportunities for businesses.
Each year, more than 18,000 students graduate from one of the region’s universities and colleges, which include Marquette University, the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee School of Engineering and the University of Wisconsin, which serves the region with four campuses – UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, UW-Waukesha and UW-Whitewater. Another 3,000 students receive advanced degrees in business, engineering, mathematics, medicine and the liberal arts.
Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to establish a vocational educational system and it is still regarded as one of the best. Each of the four technical colleges serving the area – Gateway Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Moraine Park Technical College and Waukesha County Technical College – has an extensive workforce training program.
The region’s educational institutions provide a significant amount of research to the business community. There are more than a dozen university-operated technology transfer centers in the region, where scientists test ideas and prototypes to gauge their practicability.
Technology Transfer and Advanced Manufacturing Resources
In addition, there is a region-wide initiative designed to help businesses turn ideas into products – the Center for Advanced Technology and Innovation (CATI) - the 2006 International Economic Development Council's award winner for Technology-based Economic Development. CATI helps private industries leverage their idle intellectual properties by matching them with existing companies and start-up businesses in need of those technologies. CATI manages/owns nearly 300 patented technologies from global corporations such as Kraft, Boeing, Dupont, Hercules, S.C. Johnson and International Specialty Products. In the last three years, this licensing technology has fostered five new companies and nine licensing agreements with companies like Bayer CorpSciences.
The Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) is a nonprofit consulting organization that provides technical expertise and hands-on implementation assistance to small and mid-size manufacturing firms on advanced manufacturing technologies and business practices. WMEP is a leader in lean manufacturing, strategic business development, quality systems and supplier development. WMEP, which has worked with more than 500 Wisconsin manufacturers in the past year, has joined with the Milwaukee 7 to promote next-generation manufacturing in the region, and voiced strong support for the Milwaukee 7's plan to target small and mid-size manufacturers as part of its economic development strategy.
In Fall 2008, WMEP conducted the Wisconsin Next Generation Manufacturing (NGM) Survey, a groundbreaking effort to assess the global competitiveness of Wisconsin manufacturers with the goal of achieving world-class status by 2015. The survey identifies best practice performance and management strategies, and establishes a baseline to measure future progress as Wisconsin manufacturers make the transition to Next Generation Manufacturing. For more information on the survey and major findings, click here.