MAILED: Oct. 3, 1997|
EAU CLAIRE -- If you wanted to learn about current or historic trends in the Chippewa Valley's economy, where would you go? Try the Chippewa Valley Center for Economic Education and Research, operated by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's economics department.
The center maintains data on local economic activity - data that is mailed to more than 300 local agencies and businesses. Wayne Carroll and Jan Hansen, professors in the economics department, direct the center and together with other departmental faculty and student interns, maintain and update the information annually.
"We track local economic activity, labor market activity, employment trends, everything down to the amount and type of waste disposal in the Chippewa Valley," Carroll said.
"Not only does the center track such local economic activity, but it also tabulates a price index of about 75 common food, clothing, transportation and housing items a middle-class family might purchase," Hansen said.
The price index, a cooperative project with the city of Eau Claire Economic Development Department, is typically compiled and tabulated by student interns who work for the city and the center. The index and many other data series the center tracks is published in the "Chippewa Valley Economy" and is mailed to agencies and businesses once or twice a year.
"Most of the information published in the center's report can be used by businesses and governmental agencies to compare their trends with the general trend in the Chippewa Valley economy," Hansen said. "It gives you a feel for how the local economy is doing."
While the center's staff consists of about three faculty members and three students a year, it also provides internship experiences for students in several fields, said James Egan, professor emeritus of economics. About 16 students take part in the center's internship program in the fall and another 21 participate in the spring, he said.
Economics students are placed in local businesses and make recommendations about the companies' policies and procedures. In the past, students have interned at local banks, government offices and the Eau Claire public school district office, Egan said.
"It is very much intended to be a real life, hands-on experience for students," Egan said.
Senior economics students can take the internship program for three credits for a semester of work. Other students are senior economics students who need to fulfill their service-learning requirement and seniors who use the program as a capstone experience, Egan said.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Oct. 3, 1997