Business leaders outline how loss of Skyward will impact region - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Business leaders outline how loss of Skyward will impact region


STEVENS POINT (WAOW) - Portage County leaders are warning what will happen if Stevens Point based Skyward leaves the state.

Skyward officials are upset they didn't receive a multi-million dollar education contract.

"These are well-paying jobs and we'd like to keep them here," says Portage County Business Council Executive Director Lori Dehlinger.

According to an economic report commissioned by the council, the Wood, Portage and Marathon County region could lose about $20 million in earnings if the company leaves the state.

Skyward leaders said they're happy in Stevens Point and want to expand, but after losing out on a statewide education contract, they said there's no point staying.

"It's pretty significant because I think it was a grand total of 825 jobs is what we estimated," says Skyward CEO Cliff King.

The Portage County Business Council commissioned the report two years ago when Skyward started the bidding process.

"These are not numbers that we just dreamed up," said Dehlinger. "We actually used an outside firm to work with us."

The report found that for every software publishing job lost an additional job will be lost in the region, doubling the impact.

"And that runs from everything through health care to the local grocery store," Dehlinger added.

Overall, the report estimates that almost $120 million in earnings could be lost in the region over time if Skyward chooses to move elsewhere. But Skyward hasn't moved yet.

The company is protesting the state's decision to award the multi-million dollar education contract to a Minnesota company.

A spokeswoman for the state said on Tuesday the Department of Public Instruction is reviewing that.

She said the DPI is required to respond to the protest in writing "promptly," but there is no set timeline for a response.

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