Last week we were honored to host a very interesting lunch event at the College that was coordinated by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) featuring a terrific panel discussing America’s Role in the World: Why Leading Globally Matters for Wisconsin. Panelists and featured speakers included Rep. Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District; John Ellenberger, Sr. VP for International Development at Land O’ Lakes; retired U.S. Army Lt. General William Troy; and Liz Schrayer, President/CEO of USGLC. About 150 business, government, education, and community leaders were in attendance.
USGLC is a broad-based network from across all sectors and all 50 states that supports American strategic investment in development and diplomacy, alongside defense in order to build a better, safer world. I’m pleased to have joined their Wisconsin Advisory Committee.
Given all that’s currently going on nationally and internationally, I thought I’d share just a few key points from this event that helps frame Wisconsin’s connection to the global marketplace:
- 95% of the world’s consumers live outside U.S. borders.
- Wisconsin exported $21 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2016, with machinery as its top export.
- Over 800,000 Wisconsin jobs (23%) are supported by trade.
- 13,500 international students were enrolled in Wisconsin colleges and universities in 2016, contributing $364 million to the Wisconsin economy.
Listening to the speakers at this event had me thinking not only about trade and its impact on the economy, but about international students – particularly those we’ve served at FVTC over the last three decades. In fact, I often think about the now thousands of people living and working in countries all across the world who were once educated at FVTC, connected with our community, experienced our culture, observed our democracy, and made wonderful contacts and friends here.
They not only brought a global perspective to our campuses and programs, but I believe went home as lifelong ambassadors and friends of the United States of America. Whether we’re talking about trade, security, education, humanitarian efforts, or peace – it seems to me it’s always good to have friends.