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Sep 12, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy
2013 Healthcare Staffing Assessment - Nursing and Pharmacy
Satya Rhodes-Conway and James Irwin | Sep 11, 2013
Category: State & Local Policy, Energy

The health, wealth, infrastructure and ability to maintain basic services of cities will increasingly be degraded as our planet warms and our weather worsens. Yet local governments are currently sharing in the profits made by the fossil fuel industry – investing in the very companies that are directly responsible for this threat.


The Mayors Innovation Project, a COWS project, is working to support the local government fossil fuel divestment movement. Building on the example set by Mayor McGinn of Seattle, we’re working with cities to remove municipal funds from fossil fuel investments, and working with pension funds to do the same. Divestment can have a serious impact and send an important message, and this guide offers the tools to help you get started on a divestment campaign in your community.

Mary Ebeling | Sep 03, 2013
Category: State & Local Policy, Transportation

Wilmington functions as the hub of DART (Delaware's bus system) in New Castle County, providing over 10 million passenger trips a year—including us and demand response paratransit. Thirty-eight of DART’s 60 routes serve Wilmington. Within the City of Wilmington, DART ridership continues to grow, resulting in bus congestion in the city’s central business district (CBD), particularly around and adjacent to Rodney Square. This success illustrates DTC’s role as an increasingly important part of the economic engine of the city. DTC contributes positively to the overall economic vibrancy of Wilmington through the movement of people, increased accessibility to the transportation system, improvements in air quality, and provision of access to jobs, medical care, and commercial centers.


But, the success of Wilmington’s transit service has brought challenges. As DART added more service to respond to the increasing demand, the additional buses started stacking around the square—sometimes two or three buses deep along the King Street side of the square. The situation began to negatively impact traffic movement and presented a clear safety concern as bus riders scrambled to find their buses. Parallel developments around Rodney Square included the growth of the high-end condominium market as well as an increasing number of financial firms locating offices along or adjacent to the square. For these neighbors, the transit activity created challenges of congestion, cleanliness, and safety.


This study from the State Smart Transportation Initiative - a COWS project - seeks to make recommendations for improving current system operations and to point out directions that can help position DART to function as an integral part of the city’s and region’s transportation system.

COWS | Sep 01, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, State & Local Policy, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

The national recovery has been weak. And in Wisconsin, the recovery has lagged behind even the meager pace posted nationally. This Labor Day, COWS has released The State of Working Wisconsin Update 2013, which shows just how much the Wisconsin economy has lagged behind the national pace and the sectors that account for the Wisconsin difference.


We find that Wisconsin would have 33,000 more jobs today if we’d only kept on pace with the national recovery. Since the Wisconsin economy began to grew, we’ve added 99,000 jobs. If Wisconsin had tracked the national recovery, the economy would have added 132,000 jobs. That difference, 33,000 jobs, is a measure of the how Wisconsin lags behind the national trend. To be sure, even that national trend is too weak. But in Wisconsin, we should have 33,000 more jobs today than we do.


Laura Dresser, Michele Mackey, Kathryn Edwards | Jul 01, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, State & Local Policy, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

COWS produced Vital Signs 2013, a regional economic review for the Incourage Community Foundation. This economic analysis summarizes the most recent data to help focus discussions and decision-making on economic growth and opportunity in south Wood County. From schools to employers, wages to social supports, and employment to homelessness, COWS offers data that provides a shared understanding of where south Wood County is, and where it can improve. 

Laura Dresser | Jun 26, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, COWS, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

This report from COWS highlights how raising the low-wage floor will improve quality of life for the 100,000 workers in poverty-wage jobs in the city, and for a roughly equal number of poverty-wage workers in the suburban counties around city. Long term decline was made more brutal by the Great Recession, leaving workers at the mercy of a dramatic shift from manufacturing into services, declining unionization, and falling job quality. Evidence of the economic crisis abounds, yet Milwaukee’s problems — including racial disparity and residential segregation, child poverty, crime and incarceration, catastrophic drop-out rates, especially for African Americans and Hispanics — are not inevitable. They result from increasing economic isolation of the central city and increasingly isolation even of the middle of the labor market from meaningful effects of growth. 

Correction: We regret a data error in the infographic on page 10, 'Low Income and High Poverty'. The correction has been made in the above downloadable document as of August 20, 2013.

COWS | Jun 14, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, Wisconsin

This report summarizes the accomplishments of and lessons learned from the Wisconsin Industry Partnerships initiative (2008–2012), a project directing state investment of more than six million dollars in concert with dozens of participating employers in order to increase the skills of over 6000 workers in the state. Wisconsin’s IP experience is especially relevant today as leaders turn their attention to building the skills of the state’s workforce.

Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership and COWS | Jun 04, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, COWS, Jobs & Skills, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy
The reinvigoration of manufacturing presents Milwaukee with a real opportunity. And the manufacturing opportunity could provide an answer to some of the city’s most ruinous problems, especially the economic isolation of the central city population. Manufacturing Better Opportunity & A Stronger Economy provides key data on manufacturing in Milwaukee and the problems which the central city community confronts. Additionally, it discusses the work that the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/BIG STEP has done and will continue doing in order to build a stronger bridge from community to manufacturers throughout the region.
COWS | Apr 04, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, Jobs & Skills, State & Local Policy, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies

Pathways to Competitiveness: Some Guidelines for Successful Workforce Investment in Wisconsin highlights the best of recently proposed investments in the state's workforce and offers ideas on how to maximize them to promote economic competitiveness — namely, by building on Wisconsin's nationally acclaimed efforts to forge a more functional labor market through career pathways and industry partnerships. Specifically, we offer our recommendations on key workforce investments in the biennial budget proposal and "Fast Forward" legislation that can advance business and family prosperity in Wisconsin. 

John Cleveland, Innovation Network for Communities, and James Irwin, COWS | Jan 07, 2013
Category: COWS, Energy: Energy Efficiency

This report presents recommendations on potential high impact philanthropic
investments to advance deep building energy efficiency improvements at scale within
the healthcare sector. It is one of five reports being developed for a coalition of six
philanthropies that are collaborating to see what they - and others - might do to rapidly
increase and scale the energy efficiency retrofit market for buildings in the United States.


These philanthropies are the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Energy Foundation,
Kresge Foundation, Living Cities, MacArthur Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation.
The other sectors for which market development strategies are being developed include:
commercial office, commercial retail, single-family residential, and multifamily residential.


In the summer of 2012, expert panels of 10-12 individuals were convened for each of
these sub-segments. These panels developed recommendations on priority approaches
and research needs for each sector. The recommendations in this and the other
segment reports build upon these initial ideas.

The process used to develop these recommendations included background research on
energy efficiency strategies for the healthcare sector and interviews with 33 participants
in the sector, representing healthcare systems, NGOs, trade associations, service
providers and utilities. The interviews solicited feedback on the recommendations from
the expert panel as well as other ideas the interviewees had on how to advance this