An active Business Retention and Expansion effort has been ongoing in Sheboygan County since 2008. This proactive effort involves visiting local company officials and asking their opinions regarding area business conditions. Surveys help to build relationships with business owners and allocate resources to help improve conditions for existing local businesses. Between January and July 2011, the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation (SCEDC) and its volunteers completed 72 business retention visits with area companies. The SCEDC focused its efforts on companies with 5 to 50 employees, in high-growth industry sectors as defined by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics or area manufacturers. The 72 companies visited reported having 1,274 employees. All individual company information is kept strictly confidential, and information is only reported in an aggregated format.
Survey results from Spring 2011 indicate the following general impressions of the Sheboygan County economic climate from local business leaders:
58% of respondents rated the overall business climate as good or excellent.
85% forecast that the local business climate will be better five years from now.
Workforce and Employment
77% rate the quality of the local workforce as good or excellent.
33% plan on hiring more employees within the next 12 months.
80% project sales growth in the coming year.
79% indicate their markets are expanding.
87% rate their facility’s overall health as good or excellent.
90% rate their equipment’s condition as good or excellent.
18% have local expansion plans for the next 12 to 18 months.
Views on Local Communities
88% indicate a positive attitude about their community.
79% rate the recreational and cultural amenities of Sheboygan County as good or excellent.
76% rated housing in Sheboygan County as good or excellent.
83% rate K-12 education in Sheboygan County as good or excellent.
68% rate area colleges and universities as good or excellent.
78% rate area technical training facilities as good or excellent.
According to the SCEDC Executive Director Patrick Drinan, the survey results indicate largely positive reactions from local business leaders, but also identify several challenges. “Survey responses and perspectives from owners of small businesses are somewhat different from the responses we received in 2010 from the area’s larger employers. When we asked the open-ended question, ‘What factor(s) make your company successful in Sheboygan County?,’ the top response from small businesses was ‘good products or service’ while larger businesses indicated the ‘quality of the workforce’ as the major reason for continued success.”
Drinan continued, “One-third of the survey respondents indicated plans to hire within the next 12 months. However, both large and small manufacturers agree that they are having difficulty finding skilled machinists, engineers, and technicians. This is an issue not only in northeast Wisconsin, but throughout the state. There is no doubt that local business leaders are currently optimistic about growing their business, and manufacturing occupations present outstanding employment opportunities for the next generation of workers in Sheboygan County.”
For a more complete report of responses from Sheboygan County companies, please visit http://sheboygancountyedc.com/assets/Reports/Spring2011Results.pdf.
For additional information, contact: Patrick Drinan, Executive Director, Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation, (920) 452-2350.
The Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation is a countywide private/public partnership, leading economic development efforts to improve the economic well-being and long-term prosperity of the businesses, residents, and communities of Sheboygan County, through collaborative retention, expansion, and attraction efforts for business and employment development.