Initiative 41

Initiative 41 was formed as a result of large-scale defense layoffs in 2012-13 that impacted much of Northeast Wisconsin. The layoffs were a result of defense spending cuts which, in turn, created a ripple effect throughout the region as companies supporting the defense industry also experienced significant economic hardship. This represented a negative economic impact of more than $91 million within the region.

It was recognized that to rebuild the economic health of the area, and to prevent a similar situation in the future no matter what industry was affected, there needed to be a formal effort to create greater economic diversity by increasing collaborative efforts among business, governments, community leaders, universities and technical colleges throughout the region.


What is it?

The overarching goal of Initiative 41 is to create a NEW Way of Thinking by creating an atmosphere focused on a regional approach to economic collaboration; with an understanding by community, business and elected leaders that the region is interconnected and that success in one community is a success for all communities.

Who’s involved?

Initiative 41 was developed by the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (ECWRPC) in partnership with several regional stakeholders that bring expertise and resources to the table in order to improve the overall economy within the region.

Stakeholders include:

  1. Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC);
  2. East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (ECWRPC);
  3. City of Oshkosh;
  4. Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corporation;
  5. University of Wisconsin Oshkosh;
  6. Fox Valley Technical College;
  7. New North, Inc;
  8. Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP);
  9. City, County and Regional Economic Development Corporations and Partnerships;
  10. Area Workforce Development Boards and more.

Ready for Takeoff

Aviation Cluster Study 

In 2015, Greater Oshkosh assumed the leadership position for completing Phase I of the Department of Defense Aviation Cluster Study and successfully met project deliverables by evaluating the area’s supply chain, workforce gaps and overall business environment as it relates to aerospace and manufacturing.

In 2017, Greater Oshkosh was awarded Phase II of the Department of Defense Aviation Cluster Study. During the second phase of the grant, Greater Oshkosh will be undertaking efforts to implement business plans for two niche aerospace clusters – MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) and Additive Manufacturing, while also providing more opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers to interact, share knowledge and attract talent.

To learn more about the initiatives associated with the Aviation Cluster Study contact art.rathjen@greateroshkosh.com.