Wisconsin gets high marks for tech workforce

The Milken Institute, an independent think tank, has released its biennial State Tech and Science Index, in which it evaluates all 50 states plus the District of Columbia on their technology-based economic development. Wisconsin ranked 25th, inside the second of the four tiers that Milken observes, with a score of 53.9 out of 100. That's the same position as the state held in the 2012 edition, although the score has gone up slightly since then.

Of the five indices, Wisconsin was ranked highest in technology and science workforce, 17th with a score of 61.4. The state is inside the top 25 in three other indices, but its average score was brought down by a 36th place in risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure. Some state leaders took issue with that blemish.

"Those more familiar with Wisconsin know that the number of angel and venture capital deals in the state continues to climb and that more venues, networks and opportunities are available today for people interested in starting and growing a company," said Wisconsin Technology Council president Tom Still to the Wisconsin State Journal.

A more detailed look at the Index's subcomponents provides a bright view of the future. Wisconsin is in the top 10 in several education-related aspects, including academic research and development expenditure per capita, approval of National Science Foundation proposals and both math and verbal SAT scores. The state is also sixth in number of high-tech industries growing faster than the national average.

Local technology consulting companies can help the state's IT industry take advantage of that focus on education and continue to grow over the coming years.