University of Wisconsin System Business Council appointed former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson as chairman Friday.

UW System President Ray Cross appointed Thompson as the council’s chairman, according to a statement. The council — created two years ago by Cross and two dozen business leaders statewide — connects students and corporate leaders to create employment opportunities.

“It is a great honor to chair the UW System Business Council and to assist in guiding conversations focused on identifying the best pathways for addressing the state’s current and future talent and workforce needs,” Thompson said.

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The UW System Business Council communicates with corporations to address the needs of the university and the expectations of employers, the statement said.

According to UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone, the council expands student internships and provides post-graduation research and employment opportunities. The business council gives UW another means to connect with business leaders in Wisconsin.

“It will be much easier to adapt to the fast pace of change in today’s world when we all work together,” Thompson said.

According to UW System spokesperson Heather LaRoi, the council and business leaders have showed enthusiasm for expanding these opportunities for students.

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Every time a student gets an internship with an employer in Wisconsin, they are more likely to stay in the state and benefit the economy, LaRoi said.

“They also expand professional networks and increase the likelihood of an employer hiring that student after graduation, which is a win-win for both students and employers,” LaRoi said.

With Thompson as chairman, the council can further broaden university connections with business and industry, Cross said.