Tim Sheehy: Let’s double down on our greatest asset: our people

Last updated on April 9th, 2021 at 12:03 pm

Metro Milwaukee’s great strength is its resilience. Our ability to navigate an always turbulent economy has led to a consistent run of prosperity. As other regions rise and fall, we have consistently ranked among the top 25 U.S. metros measured by per capita income for the past 40 years.

To ensure our future, the big idea is to double down on our greatest asset: our citizens. 

The biggest challenge we face for the foreseeable future is not which industries will call the region home, what tax policy we develop or which incentive tools we embrace. It is to solve for the biggest need we hear from employers: to develop educated and skilled lifelong learners whose talents drive our growth and innovation.

Nowhere is this opportunity more starkly represented than in the growing and diverse pool of talent across the city. This is the next generation of our workforce. But with only 8% of the city’s students graduating from high school and going on to obtain a two- or four-year degree, this is a drag on their prosperity and on our capability to sail forward. This is where our big ideas must focus. Ideas executed to include an equitable, parent-driven K-12 system of schools, with clear pathways from career awareness to career connections for students. We need to put more of our citizens in a position to gain from, and fuel, our prospects for growth.

The business community, as a shareholder and stakeholder, must stay engaged in helping address what is not only the big idea. It is the big answer.

This column is part of “25 big ideas for Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin’s future,” a feature included in the BizTimes Milwaukee 25th anniversary issue. To read other contributions, visit biztimes.com/bigideas

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