We are a national think-and-do tank that promotes “high road” solutions to social problems.

In 2024, COWS became the High Road Strategy Center! Learn more.

2023 Year in Review!

High Road Strategy Center 2023 Year in Review!

We are thrilled to announce the release of our 2023 Year in Review! This comprehensive report highlights all the phenomenal work we accomplished throughout the year. From launching Government Performance Action and Learning (GPAL) that provides local decision makers with a plethora of indicators on local government performance, to our first-ever Mayors Institute on Pedestrian Safety cohort that focuses on addressing community safety through peer support and technical services for mayors, 2023 has been an incredible year! 

Check out 2023 Year in Review!


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From Community Benefits, to Collective Bargaining, and Back: Building Worker Power in Milwaukee

A good Community Benefits Agreement is crucial to generating strong community results from public investments in private interests such as sports stadiums. Milwaukee’s first CBA was successful at establishing labor peace and provided space for workers to create their union, the Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization (MASH). In this report, we illustrate the ways in which MASH has been able to successfully secure improvements in employment and job quality standards for service workers in Milwaukee’s Deer District and beyond.

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High Road Strategy Center in the News

  • The pandemic especially hurt the work/life balance of women. The stressors haven’t gone away.

    It's having a deep impact on the labor force. According to a 2023 report from High Roads Strategy Center, part of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin's women labor force participation dropped below 60% for the first time since the late 1980s. "Our relative (workforce) advantage shrank quite substantially over the last two years," said Laura Dresser, associate director of High Roads Strategy Center. "We know that child care has been in crisis, even before the pandemic. Our structures for taking care of kids tend to weigh heavily on women and on women's work."

  • Workers, unions, and the public interest

    We welcome Laura Dresser, Associate Director, of the High Road Strategy Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Peter Rickman, president, Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Union to discuss the finding and key policy and organizing implications of a new High Road Center report, “From Community Benefits, to Collective Bargaining, and Back.”

  • Exploring the labor union developed to protect workers in Milwaukee’s Deer District

    Dresser is the associate director of the High Road Strategy Center, a think-tank that in-part looks at employment conditions in Wisconsin. But in the case of the Deer District, developers created a community benefits agreement ensuring certain rights for its future employees. That led to the creation of MASH — the Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization, a labor union that represents these workers. A recent report from High Road Strategy Center details the benefits this union and agreement it has brought to its workers.

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