Governor Walker says $50M Economic Development Fund Could Help Keep Young Adults in Rural Communities

Governor Walker said he thinks a proposed $50 million annual investment in rural economic development programs will help keep young adults in Wisconsin’s rural communities.

Walker touted the proposal at the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development in downtown Madison. It’s part of a broad agenda Walker pitched to lawmakers during his State of the State address last week.

“One of the biggest things I hear from people across the state is, ‘I want to find a way for my kid or my grandkid to stay here,'” Walker told reporters after his speech at the conference. “To do that, most of them need to have a career opportunity.”

Under Walker’s plan, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation would distribute funding to eligible projects in counties with no more than 155 people per square mile — a measure Walker said applies to 56 of the state’s 72 counties.

In many rural communities, adding as many as 25 jobs can have a significant impact, Walker said.

Walker said he has been hearing “long before Foxconn” about the need to promote growth and development in rural areas.

He said the plan is designed to assist with projects large and small alike. “It’s not the cure-all for everyone, but it certainly would help us draw more attraction to those areas,” Walker said.