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New white paper showcases value of UW–Madison’s in-state job creation, grad placement and economic recovery

June 9, 2021 By Kristina LeVan

With an annual statewide impact of $30.8 billion, the University of Wisconsin–Madison is a major contributor to Wisconsin’s economic growth, particularly when it comes to job creation and workforce development, according a new white paper developed by NorthStar Analytics as part of the 2021 UW–Madison economic impact report.

Every year thousands of UW–Madison graduates join Wisconsin’s workforce, filling jobs in high-demand fields like technology, engineering and math as well as health care. The white paper notes that alumni of the university stay in the state in high numbers, contributing to accelerated spending and income and sales taxes that help Wisconsin provide services to residents of all income levels. Nearly 80 percent of 2018 graduates continue to live and work in Wisconsin three years after graduation. The state also retains roughly 10 percent of Minnesota reciprocity and nonresident students each year.

UW–Madison has become an important generator of new businesses as well. With a focus on research breakthroughs and entrepreneurship, the university produces graduates who start businesses in Wisconsin and further contribute to the growth of the state’s economy. Over the last three decades, the university has helped create more than 400 startups, many of them not only surviving the recession but continuing to grow at a fast pace.

“UW–Madison graduates are a vital contribution to the state’s workforce. From health care workers to engineers to managers, UW–Madison graduates fill critical skills gaps needed to grow the Wisconsin economy. They also are a major force in creating new startup businesses that contribute to the state,” says David J. Ward, chief executive officer of NorthStar Analytics.

The university’s impact on statewide jobs reaches far beyond alumni. UW–Madison facilities, such as research farms, Division of Extension offices and UW Health clinics, contribute directly to economic activity throughout the entire state. With facilities across Wisconsin, the university creates its own supply chain for services such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, software support and general construction and repair.

“That economic impact reaches every corner of Wisconsin and produces jobs and local and state taxes that support schools and other important services that benefit residents,” Ward adds.

As Wisconsin and the U.S. begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the white paper explores how UW–Madison stimulates growth across the state. These direct economic contributions include federal research funding, out-of-state and international tuition, the placement of skilled graduates at Wisconsin-based tech companies and the development of university-related startup companies.

Read the full white paper here (PDF) and learn more about UW–Madison’s $30 billion impact on the Wisconsin economy here.