By Danielle Kaeding, WPR News
Colleges and community groups in Northwestern Wisconsin are exploring new ways to create a more-sustainable economy and build the region’s wealth.
About 14 percent of residents in Ashland and Bayfield counties are living in poverty, according to most recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. The median household income ranges from $39,000 to $45,000 a year, while the statewide average is about $53,000.
Linda Jorgenson, co-chair of the Ashland/Bayfield Counties League of Women Voters, said they’re studying ways to address the region’s economic inequality compared to the state and nation. The typical approach to economic development isn’t working, Jorgenson said. She’d like to see more living-wage jobs and money circulating locally.
“We’ve been waiting around probably since the ’60s when the mines closed for somebody to establish some big manufacturing entity in our area that would be paying $30 an hour,” Jorgenson said. “Manufacturing has been going overseas in that 50-year time period. It hasn’t been moving into Ashland.”
The League, along with Northland College and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, is sponsoring community events such as a talk this week by Sarah McKinley from the Washington think tank Democracy Collaborative. Read the full article.