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WEDC lays out priorities for state’s economic recovery from COVID-19 pandemic

NOW: WEDC lays out priorities for state’s economic recovery from COVID-19 pandemic

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – A nearly 150-page report from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation highlights what the agency sees as the priorities for the state’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, called “Wisconsin Tomorrow: An Economy for All” was requested by the Legislature this spring as part of legislation passed to address needs in the early stages of the pandemic. The document includes input from various industries as to how the pandemic has affected them.

It highlights three main priorities: getting people back to work, especially those whose jobs may not return; investing in improving the state’s broadband access, particularly with how remote education, work and e-commerce have been emphasized as necessary because of the pandemic; and supporting innovation, specifically with entrepreneurs who may be hesitant to start a new business in the current economic climate.

Returning to pre-COVID-19 employment levels will require the state to place an emphasis on education for skills and training that can be beneficial for workers.

“How do we get those folks the skills that they need to get back in the workforce?” WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes said. “What are those different jobs that are available?”

Improving broadband has been an area of priority for years in the state, but Hughes says there is an urgency to fix the infrastructure ahead of the fall.

“Kids are going back to school and need to access remote learning we have to finding solutions to that right away,” Hughes told CBS 58.

However, none of that can have its desired impact unless the state and public handle the virus effectively.

“The best and fastest way to get to a true economic recovery in the state of Wisconsin is to make sure we’re doing what we can now to stem the spread of the virus,” Hughes said.

Much of the action needed will have to come from the Legislature. Hughes recognizes the partisan divide that exists, but hopes state leaders can work together sooner rather than later because some solutions require urgency.

“I’m anxious that we start right away because we’re in this moment of great change and so why not keep working and keep changing and dive into it.”

The report was submitted to the Legislature and Gov. Evers on Tuesday, June 30.

The full report can be found here.

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