WI Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke visits Realityworks

Mary BurkeWisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke chose to visit with Realityworks employees on April 16. We appreciated listening to Ms. Burke discuss the importance of Wisconsin CTE. Additionally, she spoke to the importance of collaboration between education and industry for the betterment of the state’s economy and student success. Ms. Burke’s ‘Invest for Success’ job creation plan was the main focus of her discussion. Ms. Burke was also provided the opportunity to try her hand at welding with a RealCareer product and proper baby handling techniques with a RealCare product. Click here to read the entire story from the Leader Telegram.

US Rep. Kennedy promotes bill to increase funding for vocational education

gg61049357The following article came across my Google Alerts this past week.  Rep. Kennedy will introduce a bill in Washington to reauthorize and update the federal Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which provides federal funding for vocational education. The act was last reauthorized in 2006.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • strengthen and support career/technical education programs by using local workforce data to ensure that those programs are aligned to the needs of employers in local labor markets
  •  bipartisan support
  •  use local labor markets and labor market data, as they try to build out skills

Rep. Kennedy says it well, “When CTE is informed by labor market data and aligned with the evolving needs of our economy, students graduate ready for competitive employment and lifetime opportunity in the economy’s in-demand industry sectors and occupations.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Workforce Development Initiatives

Following Friday, April 11, 2014 monthly meeting of the West Central Wisconsin WorkforceboardtopDevelopment Board, a federally sanctioned task force that supports statewide workforce development activities, I had the opportunity of mediating the Second Annual West Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Legislative Issues Forum in Menomonie, Wisconsin. The forum gave attendees the chance to discuss questions regarding workforce, education and economic development matters with local legislators.

Those legislators included Representative Thomas Larson (R-Colfax), Representative John Murtha (R-Baldwin), Representative Bob Kulp (R-Stratford), Representative Warren Petryk (R-Eleva), Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), Senator Bob Jauch (D-Poplar) and staff representing Representative Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison). Also in attendance were the West Central Wisconsin County Boards’ Consortium, the Workforce Resource Inc. Board and the Youth Council (a sub-committee of the Workforce Development Board).

My work at Realityworks and with the IWNC has given me great insight into the value of business and industry collaboration. Any opportunity to engage our legislators regarding workforce development is one more chance to address the Skills Gap in our area and nationwide.

Whitehouse White Paper

Back in January 2014 the White House came out with a white paperwhitepaper entitled, “Addressing the Negative Cycle of Long-Term Unemployment”. The White House examined the problem of long-term unemployed, along with their perspective of how to get workers back into the pipeline. The document includes commitments from the President including: new investments in areas like infrastructure and manufacturing and steps to better match workers and their skills to currently available jobs. The white paper included numerous graphs and tables identifying age groups and professions, along with unemployed vs employed statistics. Additionally, multiple strategies were identified including the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP). (Initially created to renew traditional industrial base in the Milwaukee area during the 1990s. Then in 2001, partnered with BIG STEP (Building Industry Group Skilled Trades Employment Program) to facilitate more effective coordination of employer-driven worker readiness to best ensure that individuals preparing for employment gained the skills and experiences that employers needed. WRTP/BIG STEP launched the Center of Excellence for Skilled Trades & Industry in 2005 to develop and expand programs for several major projects in the region and to address the reemergence of the skills shortage in the industrial sector. More than just a physical location, the Center of Excellence serves as a clearinghouse for the assessment, preparation, and placement of job-ready candidates for careers in construction, manufacturing and other emerging sectors.) 

To solve our economy’s challenge, energy and efforts need to be collaborated on from employers, workforce, government and education.  All four providing equal efforts and energy will increase success of our overall economy.

Read here the White House white paper identifying numerous key intermediaries helping to connect the long-term unemployed to work.

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