President Ray Cross announced the formation of a new council aimed at fulfilling initiatives from the 2020FWD strategic framework plan.

Last month, the Board of Regents approved $42.5 million in funding for 2020FWD in an effort to bolster Wisconsin’s economy and keep UW graduates in the state.

Regents approve $42.5 million budget focused on developing workforce, college affordabilityAmid a series of power outages, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents unanimously approved a plan to help Read…

The new Business Council, in line with 2020FWD’s goals, will advise UW System officials on how to best meet the economic needs of the state.

Comprised of business and industry leaders in a variety of fields from across the state, Cross said he expects the council to increase dialogue between community leaders and governmental stakeholders.

Tom Still, Wisconsin Technology Council president, emphasized this necessity of having universities partner with Wisconsin businesses at the meeting.

“Businesses look at higher education as a source of talent, ideas and research,” Still said. “It’s important for Wisconsin to maintain an edge.”

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt cited UW-Eau Claire graduate Justin Vernon as an example of an alum, who after earning his degree, was able to foster business in the state.

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire in 2004 with a major in religious studies, Vernon spent several years performing in the music scene with several bands and projects. In 2008, he finally gained recognition and success with the album For Emma, Forever Ago. 

Now, Vernon, better recognized as the frontman for indie band Bon Iver, sells the success of his music back home by bringing nearly 20,000 attendees to the western town for the annual Eaux Claires Music Festival.

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To celebrate the great success he has achieved and brought back home, Schmidt gifted the regents with a copy of his new album 22, A Million.

Although UW System graduates like Vernon have certainly broughtbusiness to the state through the music industry, the Thursday meeting also featured a panel of experts who shared their experiences on how partnerships between universities and different sectors can address the state’s needs.

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José Ortiz Jr., chief of medical staff at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, said cross-collaboration is key in being able to retain future workers, specifically healthcare workers, in the state. For those who earn their medical degree in Wisconsin, 86 percent end up doing their residency in the state as well.

While the meeting largely focused on community and business mobilization, Cross said college affordability remains a top priority for UW System.

Wisconsin residents might see higher tuition prices in the next academic yearAfter three years of an in-state tuition freeze, University of Wisconsin System officials are considering lifting the cap after the 2017-18 Read…

Regents will vote on a proposal that will lift the tuition freeze and have it rise in conjunction with the Consumer Price Index after the 2017-18 academic school year Friday.