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Walker, Barrett support Milwaukee start-up model

Milwaukee (AP) — Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett are teaming up in another rare show of bipartisan support in hopes of stimulating business growth in Milwaukee.

The political rivals are backing a new entrepreneurship model aimed at encouraging new ventures in the city. Walker defeated Barrett in the governor’s race in 2010 and again in a recall race last year.

The plan, which formally will be announced Thursday morning, involves a systematic method of encouraging entrepreneurship. Rather than fund individual unrelated startups, the goal would be to create an environment that fosters long-term growth.

That would involve connecting planners, investors, academics and entrepreneurs, in part so the new businesses can support one other and so the community can contribute by providing the skilled employees necessary to work in those companies.

“We have growing companies that need skilled workers, and Milwaukee residents who need jobs,” according to a statement attributed to Barrett. “I am proud of this partnership and pleased that Milwaukee is leading the way.”

The Walker-Barrett collaboration comes two weeks after they supported a construction project downtown that would free up land for development.

Walker has been struggling to deliver on a campaign pledge to create a quarter-million new jobs before he launches his 2014 re-election bid.

The initiative “will help to support the state’s pledge to bring 250,000 jobs to Wisconsin, one-third of which will come from Milwaukee,” according to a statement attributed to Walker.

The proposal will be unveiled by the Greater Milwaukee Committee. Collaborating with GMC are the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., which is the state’s semi-private economic development agency, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Administration and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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