Waukesha County leaders are working to ensure the county will be poised for a safe recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The county is engaging with the local business community to learn which sectors have the greatest needs in order to prepare the local economy to open as safely as possible.
The Economic Recovery and Impact Team
Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow has formed an Economic Recovery and Impact Team made up of leaders from local and regional business, economic development, workforce development, and educational organizations. This team will provide insight and direction about economic impacts to residents, businesses, and educational institutions so we can effectively respond to the challenges utilizing industry-specific best practices.
This team will work to gather detailed data by employment sector to see where we stand as a result of the pandemic. They will use pre-COVID-19 data to provide a baseline for information that can be monitored by sector. This data will help determine the number of employees who have lost their jobs, the impact on the labor force, the effect on tax revenues, retail sales, manufacturing and trade inventories, construction, restaurants and food services, and the real estate market.
Working with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corportation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation is supporting the efforts of the Economic Recovery and Impact Team and their data collection efforts by providing an economic impact assessment statewide as well as a small business survey to understand the pandemic’s effect by sector so it can use industry guidelines and a multi-sector taskforce to restart the economy on a statewide level.
The CARES Act
County Executive Farrow have already started working with our federal partners to determine how recent legislation could impact Waukesha County. Most recently, I had a conversation with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Midwest Regional Administrator to discuss Congress’ Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Act was only recently signed into law, and we are discussing the options it opens up for local families and their businesses.
May 7 Virtual Job and Resource Fair
While many families have suffered from job losses, there are still businesses that are hiring. To help connect job seekers with employers, Waukesha County and the Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington (WOW) Workforce Development Board are partnering with Employ Milwaukee and the Southeastern Wisconsin Workforce Development Board to host a 7-county Virtual Job and Resource Fair on May 7. The event will also allow community-based organizations to share resources to help individuals and families affected by layoffs or economic hardships.
The Waukesha County GROW Funds
Last year, Waukesha County’s Center for Growth worked in partnership with local banks to create a revolving loan program, called the Waukesha County GROW fund, to help improve our local economy and create jobs. While many resources normally available to businesses are on hold during the pandemic, the Waukesha County GROW fund is still active and can provide a unique additional funding source to businesses in key sectors that may need to expand at this time.
Waukesha County’s economy is comprised of diverse businesses with a large portion of businesses being small to mid-sized companies with 100 or fewer employees. Waukesha County is working with the Waukesha County Business Alliance and Waukesha County Center for Growth to keep those businesses aware of valuable resources during this extremely difficult and unsettling time.
Information about Waukesha County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic may be found on the county’s website www.waukeshacounty.gov/COVID19 and on social media accounts. You may follow County Executive Farrow on Twitter @WaukeshaCoExec and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CountyExecutivePaulFarrow.