Proud to be Wisconsin made
Wisconsin has always been a state where people do and make things.
It is a place where resources are put to work. In 1851, the state adopted its current seal, which can be seen on every state flag. In the center of that seal is a shield divided into four areas representing agriculture (plow), mining (pick and shovel), manufacturing (arm and hammer), and navigation (anchor).
In the 171 years since the seal was adopted, those four areas continue to form the foundation of Wisconsin’s economic success.
Wisconsin is a place where fertile fields, clear waters and the labor of farmers’ backs help feed the world. It is a place where minerals deposited millennia ago are mined and refined. It is a place where the products from the field and the mines are tempered by innovation and molded by imagination and through manufacturing and entrepreneurship turned into thousands of products that help make everyday life better.
According to federal labor statistics, manufacturing accounts for 18.57% of the total output of the state with nearly 17% of the state workforce being employed in manufacturing in some way. This totals up to an impressive average of 472,000 people employed in manufacturing, a number that has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels and continues to rise with more than 7,700 manufacturing firms at work in the state. The combined output of manufacturing is about $65 billion in the state economy.
While the numbers tell an impressive story on their own, manufacturing is more than just output and economic impact statistics. Manufacturing is about putting the state’s most valuable resource — the creativity and drive of its workforce — into action. In the drive to push Wisconsin ever forward, and fulfill the challenge that past generations enshrined in the state’s motto, the talents and work ethic of Wisconsin residents continues to be the most important resource.
Manufacturing starts with a need and an idea of how to fill that need. Tinkerers, designers and engineers then develop that idea, taking it from a sketch on the back of a napkin into mass production. Along the way, they are called on to solve issues that arise, from sourcing materials to securing investors and attracting workers.
The items produced here in Central Wisconsin are as diverse as the people who call this area home. There are woodworkers who take the resources of the forests and put them into furniture and cabinetry. There are those who take the fruit of fields and turn them into beverages to be consumed and shared. Others work behind the scenes, producing the equipment and providing the expertise to help other manufacturers succeed and grow.
This week, we celebrate Wisconsin’s manufacturing heritage with the annual Made In Wisconsin section. The section highlights products that are proud to be Wisconsin made.