Our 2022 Top Ten List

MadREP and the Madison Region enjoyed a number of wins, accomplishments and rankings in 2022. Here’s our ranking of the top ten!

10: Annual Summit Returns Live
After two years of virtual presentations, MadREP, along with our partners at the Urban League of Greater Madison, were thrilled to host this year’s in-person gathering at Monona Terrace. Hundreds of professionals and community leaders came together at the 9th Annual Economic Development & Diversity Summit to discuss pressing topics at the intersection of diversity, equity, inclusion and economic development.

9: Publishing 7th Annual Workplace Leadership & Diversity Survey Published
In conjunction with the Summit, MadREP released our 2022 Madison Region Workplace Diversity & Inclusion Survey (sponsored by Associated Bank). The results showed incremental improvement in some areas and more work to do in others, as reported by In Business and the Wisconsin State Journal.

8: Hosting Office Hours in each of our Eight Counties
MadREP staff enjoyed a series of outings throughout the Region, meeting with business and community leaders in MiltonBeloitPortageDodgevilleNew Glarus and more! We loved being able to learn about the specific needs of so many communities in our Region as we evaluate priorities for 2023.

7: Launching Broadband Speed Test Initiative
Early in the year, MadREP launched a crowd-sourced speed test tool for the Madison Region to prepare for new FCC maps. Wisconsinites can now use the tool to collect real-time data before submitting corrections to the FCC’s new national broadband map by January 13, 2023.

6: Leading on Regional Workforce Transportation
After announcing a vanpool pilot in partnership with Commute With Enterprise in March 2022, MadREP collaborated with Competitive Wisconsin and Blackhawk Tech on a transportation accelerator event in November. As we close out 2022, we’re pleased to have three vanpools on the road supporting rural worker transit and we look forward to adding more in 2023.

5: Completing EDA Sector Strategy Project
After securing a grant from the EDA in June 2021 to support the process, MadREP has completed our work on a clear vision for economic growth based on growing clusters and an action plan that builds the region’s resiliency. We look forward to publishing the results in the new year.

4: Bringing Green Bay Packers Mentor-Protégé Program to the Region
After joining the effort’s board of directors, Fields and the Packers promoted the unique opportunity to small businesses throughout the Madison Region. The program partners applicants with experienced business leaders, who provide technical, managerial, financial and other guidance to help companies improve their competitive standing.

3: Jason Fields Earning Certified Economic Developer Designation
Our Fearless Leader Jason Fields added even more letters behind his name when he was recognized as a Certified Economic Developer by the International Economic Development Council in September 2022. The CEcD program is the most prestigious designation in the economic development profession.

2: Administering $10,000 Main Street BounceBack Grants to 850+ Businesses
As a partner in WEDC’s Main Street Bounceback Grant Program, MadREP has worked to provide one-time assistance to new and existing businesses opening a new location or expanding operations in a vacant commercial space. The application deadline for the Main Street Bounceback Grant Program is December 31, 2022.

1: Ranking #1 Best Place to Live, Again
For the second consecutive year, Madison topped Livability.com’s list of Best Places to Live, which garners millions of views annually. Jason Fields and Madison Chamber President Zach Brandon’s appearance on the outlet’s podcast is not to be missed! Additionally, MadREP is closing in on a decade of partnership with Livability Media, where we collaborate on initiatives like this and our annual roundup of great stories from throughout the Region.

Top Ten | WalletHub | 2022’s Best & Worst Places to Raise a Family

Source: WalletHub

WalletHub recently ranked Madison #9 in their Top Ten on the 2022 list of Best & Worst Places to Raise a Family. 

Source: WalletHub

With family needs in mind, WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities based on 46 key metrics that consider essential family dynamics, such as the cost of housing, the quality of local school and health-care systems, and the opportunities for fun and recreation.

Families move often and for various reasons. In fact, the average American can expect to move an estimated 11.7 times in a lifetime. Moving can be a sign of opportunity, such as a new job or long-term wealth accumulation, but people may also move because of instability such as foreclosure or job loss. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, families will likely be looking for cities that provide the most safety and have the lowest unemployment rates.



Whitewater, Wisconsin Recognized by Brookings as “Well Positioned for New Growth”

madison industry jefferson county gallery football
UW-Whitewater’s Warhawks finished the 2021 season with the program’s 38th Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship.

Last week, The Brookings Institution published “Improving quality of life—not just business—is the best path to Midwestern rejuvenation” on The Avenue, their Metropolitan Policy Program blog.

Authors John C. Austin, Amanda Weinstein, Michael Hicks, and Emily Wornell tell the story of “today’s reality of two Midwests.” One is vibrant and rebounding headfirst into “global knowledge economy” while the other is languishing and struggling to attract or retain employers.

New data published by the authors suggests quality of place investments may contribute more to building a healthy local economy than traditional investments to create a favorable business climate.

Their analysis of Midwestern communities revealed several smaller communities “well positioned for new growth.” Topping the list were Whitewater, Wisconsin, Celina, Ohio and Brainerd, Minnesota. The three specifically ranked among the top small Midwest towns for quality of life associated with higher population, employment growth, housing premium and wage premium (meaning residents were willing to pay higher prices and accept lower wages).

Whitewater, Wisconsin sits at the edge of the Madison Region, straddling Jefferson and Walworth Counties. According to Emsi, the Whitewater MSA’s population grew by 1,445 over the last 5 years and is projected to grow by 1,024 over the next 5 years while adding 2,779 new jobs. In 2020, the top three industries were Restaurants and Other Eating Places, Education and Hospitals (Local Government), and Local Government, Excluding Education and Hospitals.

The community is home to breweries, distilleries, theaters, and year-round hiking trails along scenic lakes, as well as the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the school’s online degree programs among the best in the nation for 2022.

“Congratulations to our partners in Whitewater and Jefferson County! It’s great to see your hard work recognized by an organization like Brookings,” said MadREP CEO Jason M. Fields. “I, and my team, are looking forward to continuing to work together on the next phase of Whitewater’s chart-topping growth.”