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Industrial Strength: Manufacturing Thrives in Madison

A highly skilled workforce is the backbone of the region’s advanced manufacturing sector.

By Kevin Litwin on June 15, 2020

Madison WI
Madison / Nathan Lambrecht

Highly sophisticated, technology-driven manufacturing is a strong sector in the Madison Region, where a growing stable of globally known companies across a range of vital industries is producing high-tech products sold around the world.

More than 1,400 manufacturing establishments operate in the region, employing more than 68,000 workers. And companies looking to open or expand advanced manufacturing facilities in the Madison Region have plenty of positive reasons for locating there, including a multitude of industrial parks, moderate utility prices and well-respected technical and four-year education institutions.

Greater Madison is the Intersection of Innovation

Major manufacturers with a presence in the region include John Deere, Trek Bicycle, Cardinal Glass, GE Healthcare, Teel Plastics, Spectrum Brands and Electronic Theatre Controls.

Other manufacturers that have recently expanded their production facilities in the region, including Fisher Barton Group in Watertown, which manufactures components for lawn mowers, agricultural equipment, medical devices, solar power and other markets; and United Alloy Inc. in Janesville, a manufacturer of diesel fuel tanks, generator frames and other heavy metal fabrications for customers such as Caterpillar, Cummins Power, Generac Power Systems and Morgan Corp.

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Madison / Sub-Zero Wolf/Tim Nehotte Photography

Representing Many Industries

Advanced manufacturing companies in the Madison Region make products for a variety of industry sectors, including aerospace, agriculture, architectural, construction, defense, electronics, food processing, industrial, medical, packaging, power distribution and transportation. Companies are drawn to the Madison Region for many reasons, including the high percentage of college-educated workers as well as the business-friendly environment.

“A key component to the region’s manufacturing capability is our accessible location, reliable infrastructure and integrated supply chain,†says Paul Jadin, president and CEO of the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP). “The Madison Region’s strength in manufacturing is also buoyed by industry leadership across Wisconsin, which consistently ranks among the nation’s top states for manufacturing jobs per capita.”

The Greater Madison Region Draws in Young Professionals

Jadin adds that the Madison Region is also home to a number of Manufacturing Councils, which are groups of local manufacturers that regularly assemble to identify solutions to industry challenges. In addition, higher education institutions in and near the Madison Region confer over 5,500 degrees and certificates each school year that are applicable to advanced manufacturing positions.

Advanced Education for Advanced Manufacturing

The region is at the forefront of providing state-of-the-art facilities and tools to train students in the field of advanced manufacturing. One of those sites is the Madison College Ingenuity Center for Advanced Manufacturing, which features prototype and material testing machines along with classrooms, faculty spaces and high bay workspace for manufacturing labs.

Greater Madison is Garnering Greatness

At Blackhawk Technical College’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Janesville, the new facility provides training in machining, electricity and hydraulics. The center also offers education in supporting disciplines such as blueprint reading, welding, rigging, refrigeration fundamentals, and drives and linkages.

“In addition, the state’s three University of Wisconsin System engineering schools are in or immediately adjacent to the Madison Region – UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Platteville,†Jadin says. “Independently and collectively, all three universities have nationally recognized mechanical, electrical, material science, nanotechnology, industrial, chemical, industrial engineering technology and sales engineering programs.”

If you’d like to learn more about the Madison Region, check out the latest edition of the Madison Region Economic Development magazine

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