Economic development is about much more than attracting big businesses to Wisconsin communities, the state’s chief economic development official said Tuesday during a public Q & A session in Madison.

In the three and a half years since she was appointed, said Missy Hughes, Secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., her work has broadened beyond “increasing the square footage in a community” occupied by industry or “attracting businesses and things like that.”

“Economic development has really shifted,” she said. It includes addressing local needs for stronger broadband internet service, expanding affordable housing and finding ways to expand the available workforce and draw future workers to the state. “You can’t attract businesses” without addressing “our underlying investments,” Hughes said.

[Adapted from: At WEDC, focus expands to communities and small businesses — not just big ones May 17, 2023 Wisconsin Examiner]