Gale Klappa, chairman, president and chief executive of Wisconsin Energy Corporation, reported yesterday that the Milwaukee 7 regional economic development initiative helped create 799 jobs in 2011 and is working with prospects that would add thousands of additional jobs in the region.
“In this economy, that’s truly an accomplishment to be proud of,” said Klappa, M7 co-chair, who met with business, government and education officials at a meeting in Cedarburg. He said the new jobs pay well, with an average starting wage of $60,000 per year.
Since 2010, the M7 has been involved with recruitment or expansion of employers in southeast Wisconsin that have added 4,911 jobs. According to Pat O’Brien, M7 executive director, the M7 staff is working with prospects and advanced leads for prospects that potentially would attract another 7,100 jobs.
The M7 will increase its outreach in northern Illinois this year, especially in food and beverage manufacturing, which the group has identified as a growth platform.
Klappa is one of the founding members of the Milwaukee 7, which was launched in September 2005 to create a regional, cooperative economic development platform for the seven counties of southeast Wisconsin: Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Waukesha and Washington. Its mission is to attract, retain and grow diverse businesses and talent.