The recently released "Creative Industries: A New Economic Growth Opportunity for the Milwaukee 7 Region," highlights the importance of a strong creative talent base as a catalyst for change and growth in the greater Milwaukee region.
That’s no surprise to the alumni and students of MIAD, 80% of whom have long chosen to use their innovative skills in Wisconsin after graduation.
Mount Auburn Associates, a worldwide expert in the analysis of creative industries, conducted the study, commissioned by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee and the Greater Milwaukee Committee as part of the "Creativity Works" initiative.
Mt. Auburn researcher Michael Kane called the region’s creative depth "remarkable," citing the 66,707 who people work in the creative industries. This number matches the construction industry in terms of jobs created, and exceeds the Milwaukee water businesses and the food and beverage manufacturing businesses combined.
Creative talent in general, and design talent specifically, are increasingly driving the regional economy, with enormous impact on other sectors.
- More than 70% of the individuals, organizations and businesses that participated in the yearlong study said design was significant or integral to their competitiveness.
- Most of the companies cited in the report for their design innovation – Harley-Davidson, Allen-Edmonds, A.O. Smith, Kohl’s and Kahler Slater – employ MIAD graduates.
- The growing design district in the Third Ward, which provides numerous internship and employment opportunities to MIAD graduates, is gaining national attention.
- MIAD’s Industrial Design program, recently named among the top 10 in the country, Communication Design program and Interior Architecture and Design program were cited as among the area’s educational strengths.
The study also noted the importance of entrepreneurial skills, which drive one-third of MIAD graduates to own their own businesses.
"Prosperity will result from creativity that, directly and indirectly, produces employment, makes other sectors more competitive, contributes to making the region more desirable, makes people more innovative, and recognizes and rewards the talent that may lie outside the mainstream career pathways," the report said.
"Among the project’s next steps to further develop the creative industries is establishing a regional Design Council that will build on design’s competitive advantage," said Jill Morin, Creativity Works Co-Chair and MIAD Trustee. "MIAD will be involved in the council," said Morin, also noting that MIAD President Neil Hoffman served on Creativity Works’ Planning Committee.
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Click here to read an Executive Summary of the Mt. Auburn report.