When UW-Madison was selected by Schmidt Futures as part of its Alliance for the American Dream Initiative, the grant came with a significant challenge: Produce innovative ideas for increasing the net income of 10,000 Dane County families by 10 percent by 2020. DreamUp Wisconsin, the local implementation effort launched to meet the challenge, has selected 11 proposals, from a total of 46 submitted by teams of community and university partners, which offer innovative ideas to grow and support Dane County’s middle class.

Ideas include: a 10-step financial literacy and holistic financial well-being program; a transportation system linking workers with employers outside Madison; legal services through direct representation and technology to reduce employment barriers; a plan to provide wrap-around services and more meaningful connections with local employers to enrolled students as well as those who had to stop attending Madison College for financial reasons; a multi-pronged approach to transform the early childhood and out-of-school time sectors; a plan to help workers advance beyond their first job; a place-based approach to improving housing and work supports; engagement of the manufacturing, construction, and service sectors to improve employment opportunities; a multi-faceted plan to transform the regional food system; a medical debt forgiveness program; and a plan to increase renewable energy sector jobs and reduce energy costs. Read the full story here.