Quality of Life

10th Annual Madison Region Economic Development & Diversity Summit Welcomes 500+ Business and Community Leaders

A crowd of more than 500 business and community leaders joined MadREP and the Urban League of Greater Madison (ULGM) on Wednesday, May 10 at the tenth annual Madison Region Economic Development and Diversity Summit. The day-long event was packed with important conversations about equitable development and embracing diversity as the Region continues to grow.

MadREP CEO Jason Fields & ULGM CEO Ruben Anthony shaking hands.

Attendees enjoyed remarks from elected officials, economists and business and thought leaders from our Region and beyond. Keynote addresses from Laura Dresser, UW-Madison Clinical Associate Professor and Associate Director at the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), Jason R. Thompson, Vice President, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Western Governors University, Troy LeMaile-Stovall, CEO, TEDCO (Maryland Technology Development Corporation), and Lela Lee, Actress/Creator of the “Angry Little Asian Girl.” All four speakers inspired and challenged the crowd to think about how we invest in diverse entrepreneurs and attract diverse talent to Southcentral Wisconsin.

As in previous years, the conference featured messages from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes and welcomed Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway to the stage.

Breakout sessions at the summit included two presentations and two panel discussions focused on equity and quality of life:

  • “Embracing Neurodiversity in the Workplace,” with presenter Haley Moss, Attorney & Expert on Neurodiversity, Autism & Inclusion
  • “Improving Quality of Life—Not Just Business—is the Best Path to Midwestern Rejuvenation,” with presenter Amanda Weinstein, Associate Professor in the Department of Economics, University of Akron
  • “Pathways from Youth to Adult Apprenticeship: Examining UW Health as a Local Model,” with moderator Bridgett Willey, PhD, Director of Allied Health Education and Career Pathways, UW Health
  • “What is Talent Really Looking For,” with moderator Mark Richardson, Founder & CEO, Unfinished Business

This unique collaboration between the Urban League the Madison Region serves as a national model for economic growth and economic inclusion. We would like to extend a special thank you to the many sponsors who made the event possible, especially our co-presenting sponsors, Alliant Energy and UW Health.

Feedback from the varied offerings of plenary and breakouts speakers was very positive the day of the event, as ideas, strategies, and tools were discussed to help organizations move their diversity and inclusion efforts forward. A few of the presentations from the Summit are available for sharing. If you are interested in sponsoring next year, getting involved, or receiving the presentation for a speaker or breakout session, please contact MadREP Operations and Fundraising Specialist Jana Moore at jmoore@madisonregion.org. Attendees are encouraged to respond to the follow-up survey sent out earlier, as feedback received on that form will help to drive the agenda for the 2024 Summit.

If you missed it, check out the conversation on twitter at #madsummit as well as photos from the day. We are grateful to everyone who helped make this continued collaboration a success. Don’t forget to save the date for next year: May 2, 2024.

Cap Times: See where rural broadband is (and isn’t) available in Wisconsin

Economic Development Cap Times LogoSource: The Cap Times

As federal regulators prepare to publish a new map showing where broadband internet is and isn’t available across the U.S., Madison-area internet advocates are urging residents to check the draft themselves.

Unveiled in November, the “pre-production draft” of the Federal Communications Commission map is the most detailed and current federal map of internet accessibility, according to an announcement issued last week by the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP). The eight-county economic development group is now encouraging residents to enter their addresses in the online interactive map and notify the FCC if the internet in their area doesn’t match what’s shown on the map.

“If it does not, we have a brief window to challenge that finding,” said Gene Dalhoff, vice president of talent and education at MadREP.  “If areas are incorrectly finalized as having access they do not, it will jeopardize the Madison Region’s ability to access federal support for broad infrastructure.”

That federal support includes a share of the more than $42 billion that was set aside for internet expansion under the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. Corrections to the map must be submitted by Jan. 13, 2023, before those dollars are allocated.

This isn’t the first time MadREP has sought to mobilize the public to gather information about internet access in the region. Last year, the group released its own internet speed test for Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson, Rock, and Sauk counties. The test is designed to provide data that the agency and its partners can use to seek improvements to internet infrastructure where they’re needed most

Much of rural America — and some urban and suburban areas — doesn’t have internet fast and reliable enough to meet the federal definition of broadband, which requires download speeds of 25 megabits per second and upload speeds of 3 megabits per second.

For years it’s been hard to say just how big the problem is, since the prior Federal Communications Commission maps that are typically used to assess coverage were based on data by U.S. Census Bureau tract, a geographic unit that can include as many as 8,000 people. A single tract can include homes with fast internet through a cable or fiber connection, as well as homes still connecting to the internet with a dial-up modem.

“If you have one address in a census block that has tremendous broadband, they’re going to apply those results to the entire census block. So this creates very, very misleading maps,” Dalhoff said last year.

If governments or service providers consult those flawed maps to determine where to develop new broadband infrastructure, Dalhoff said, “it could be that 99% of the people are kind of left out in the cold.” In Wisconsin, the Public Service Commission estimates that around 800,000 people, or 14% of the state’s population, don’t have the infrastructure needed for broadband — twice the figure the prior FCC maps suggested.

The new maps will offer a more detailed and current view, showing the fixed and mobile broadband options available at individual addresses, as reported by internet service providers.

“As we often say, access to broadband is vital for economic success,” said MadREP president and CEO Jason Fields. “Now is another opportunity for Wisconsinites to contribute to a broadband solution.”

Article originally published on captimes.com.

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.