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Manufacturing/Advanced Manufacturing
A Manufacturing Powerhouse

We make things in Jefferson and Dodge counties. We make bicycles here. Lawnmower blades. We make parts for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. Manufacturing powerhouses in our own right, our two county region is also well connected to the state’s strong manufacturing clusters in Green Bay, Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Waukesha, Janesville, Kenosha and Racine.

Statewide, manufacturers account for 18.2 percent of the total output in the state, employing 16.1 percent of the workforce. That’s the second highest manufacturing employment concentration of any state in the nation. Impressive numbers, but they go up even higher in Jefferson and Dodge counties. In Dodge County, manufacturing makes up a whopping 32 percent of the workforce; in Jefferson County, it makes up 28 percent of the county’s workforce.

Dodge and Jefferson counties are home to some of the world’s most innovative manufacturers, including Trek Bikes, John Deere Horicon Works, MEC, Fisher Barton, Quad Graphics, Spacesaver Corporation and many more. We’re also home to food processing companies that make items you know and love, including Johnsonville, Jones Dairy Farm and Crave Brothers Farmstead Classics’ award-winning cheese. Learn more about our two-county region’s food and beverage processing specialty here.

It’s Happening Here: Workforce

With record low unemployment, employers all over the state and nation are faced with the challenge of filling vacant and new positions with qualified workers.

There’s good news for manufacturers in Jefferson and Dodge counties. Our primary research indicates that the two-county region has a robust labor pool of workers in our labor basin area. In fact, our Central Wisconsin Labor Region, which includes all or portions of Jefferson, Dodge, Columbia, Dane, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Rock, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha Counties, has an available labor pool of nearly 260,000 individuals. Our 2018 Labor Availability Analysis identified workers in this laborshed willing to take a job in manufacturing and found that 47% report an interest in employment in manufacturing and 44% already had some training or experience in manufacturing. Download the Executive Summaries of the Labor Availability Analysis below.

It’s Happening Here: Incentives

Thrive Economic Development works with expanding business as well as businesses that are new to the two-county region to identify local, state, and federal programs and incentives that encourage business growth and job creation. From tax credits to loan funds, there are multiple resources designed to assist businesses in Jefferson and Dodge counties.

Wisconsin has a wide range of programs and incentives to encourage business growth and job creation. The list below contains just a few programs and incentives for businesses. Use the Incentive Finder below from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue to learn more, or contact us and we’ll do the work for you!

Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit

The Manufacturing and Agriculture Tax Credit offsets a significant share of Wisconsin income taxes. Starting in 2013, the tax credit became available for income derived from manufacturing or agricultural property located in Wisconsin.

Property Tax Exemptions

Machinery and equipment used exclusively and directly in the production process in manufacturing is exempt from personal property taxes

Sales Tax Exemptions

Machinery and equipment used by a manufacturer in producing tangible personal property.

Tangible personal property which becomes an ingredient or component of another product in the manufacturing process.

It’s Happening Here: Supply Chain

With the second highest manufacturing employment concentration of any state in the nation, Wisconsin has abundant suppliers and vendors for manufacturers.

It’s Happening Here: Strategic Location

Our two-county region offers an ideal location. A population of nearly 75,000,000 is reachable within a 500 mile radius. We have available industrial sites near state and interstate highways in both counties, allowing easy access to major metropolitan markets.

Located midway between Chicago and Minneapolis/St. Paul on the Midwest’s High-Tech IQ corridor, Jefferson County sits between Dane and Waukesha, two of the wealthiest counties in the state, with Interstate 94 and WI Highway 26 running through it. In Dodge County, just to the north, Interstate 41 runs through the upper eastern portion of the county. US Highway 151 cuts diagonally across the county and WI-26 bisects the county, all providing access to Interstates 90/39 and 94.

Both Jefferson and Dodge counties offer easy access to Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison and Minneapolis/St. Paul, at a cost significantly less than any one of those cities. Cut your costs and improve your reach in our region.

It’s Happening Here: Infrastructure

With abundant business-friendly resources including air, rail, outstanding North-South and East-West highway systems and available sites and buildings, the area offers all the access you need and a lower cost of doing business. Learn more about our infrastructure here.

Interactive Incentive Finder

Interactive Incentive Finder

There are a number of tax credits and incentives available to businesses. Don’t miss out!

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