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Community Corner: UWPlatteville in the work world
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On May 11, UW–Platteville held its 190th commencement, the largest commencement ceremony in the university’s history.

UW–Platteville had 1,081 degree candidates from our three colleges — the College of Business, Industry, Life Sciences and Agriculture; College of Liberal Arts and Education; and College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science.

Whether the students’ degrees were earned in the areas of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics or in the areas of criminal justice, business, agriculture, education or the arts, their education is the foundation they can build upon to accomplish great things in our communities and in the workforce.

UW–Platteville has been a leader in providing exceptional education for almost 150 years. Our continual pursuit of excellence drives all that we do, pushing us to remain on the cutting edge of innovation so that these graduates — and those who follow them — have the knowledge, skills and expertise they need to excel in the diverse, international workforce they enter upon graduation.

UW–Platteville has not only educated and trained its graduates to become members of the workforce — it has educated and trained them to become the future leaders in our communities, our businesses, and our industries.

The university has longstanding partnerships with such companies as John Deere, MGA, Neenah Foundry, Lactalis USA, WiSys, IBM, and 3M. Companies such as Kohler Co., Integrys Energy Group, Growmark Inc.; CNH America LLC; Colony Brands, Epic, Frito-Lay, Rite-Hite Corp., Organic Valley/Cropp Cooperative, and Southwest Health Center regularly attend our career fairs to find highly skilled employees from a variety of fields to fill positions at their companies.

Thanks to these partnerships and others that the university has formed with business, industry, education, and government in Platteville and the broader region as well as the high level of interest employers show in our graduates, I am confident that our new graduates will become employed quickly in high growth fields.

By linking our graduates to job opportunities in a wide variety of fields ranging from STEM to criminal justice to agriculture, education, and the arts, we are playing an important role in the economic development of the state. As these new graduates become employed in their chosen careers, they will have a direct impact on powering the economic growth in our local communities and state. As productive, working members of our communities, they will help improve the state’s economy by meeting workforce needs which, in turn, will improve the quality of life in the state for all of us.
If community leaders in business and industry are looking for graduates in certain career areas, I encourage you to contact our Career Center at 342-1183. We will do everything we can to meet your employment needs.

Graduations are some of the most visible examples of the impact that UW–Platteville has on students and the community. Another less visible, but just as important, example is the economic impact that the university has on the region and state. UW–Platteville’s 2013 Economic Impact Study results are in, and the documented impact is significant.

The study shows that the education the university provides each year to its students increases their combined expected lifetime earnings more than $600 million, with over $157 million in productive potential accruing to southwest Wisconsin and $380 million in productive potential accruing to Wisconsin. For the region and state, survey results showed that in 2011–12, UW–Platteville’s economic impact was an estimated $275 million in southwest Wisconsin and an estimated $394 million in the state.

Due to the university’s continued growth in students and staff — our student population has grown 56 percent in the past 13 years — the university’s economic impact has grown considerably since the 2008 Economic Impact Study. To illustrate, during 2007–08, the university’s combined, direct and induced contributions were estimated to have totaled about $168.4 million to the economy of southwest Wisconsin.

These figures show that the university is playing an increasingly important role in the economic health and growth of the region. The university’s impact is the direct result of the millions of dollars that UW–Platteville employees, students, and visitors spend on goods and services in southwest Wisconsin as well as the millions of dollars the university spends for supplies, capital equipment, and building construction in the region which, in turn, provide income for businesses, government agencies, and non-profit organizations that then re-spend or reinvest their income in southwest Wisconsin for wages, salaries, merchandise, and services, thereby benefiting others in the region.

In addition to the spending in southwest Wisconsin, the study showed that the university has a direct impact on employment in the area, creating an estimated 4,300 jobs in the region and 5,900 jobs statewide.
UW–Platteville will continue to play a critical role in the economic development of our region and state. We are greatly appreciative of the strong relationships that we have formed with business, industry, education, and government in Platteville and in the surrounding region. We look forward to working with them even more closely in the future, which will strengthen our communities, our region, and our state.

Every day is a great day to be a Pioneer!

The Community Corner is a weekly column of opinion written by guest columnists UW–Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields; Platteville School District Superintendent Connie Valenza; Chamber Director Kathy Kopp; Main Street Program Director Jack Luedtke; Platteville Recreation Coordinator Jordan Burress, State Rep. Travis Tranel, Platteville City Manager Larry Bierke and Police Chief Doug McKinley.