Governor Walker has focused on coupling educational career readiness programs with existing workforce and economic development training efforts.
"Wisconsin has a skills gap that is leading to unfilled, good-paying jobs in our state," Governor Walker said. "It is essential that we work together to create a flow of trained students from schools into jobs so that Wisconsin families can stay on their feet."
According to the Center on Education and the Workforce, nearly two-thirds of all new job openings in Wisconsin between now and 2018 will require some form of education beyond high school. Wisconsin ranks 8th in the nation in the number of jobs that will require an associate degree and 26th in the number of jobs that will require a bachelor's degree.
In January, Governor Walker created the Wisconsin College and Workforce Readiness Council to focus on a number of issues including reducing dropout rates, closing achievement gaps, increasing the number of degrees/certificates awarded, filling high need positions, exploring dual enrollment opportunities and easing student transitions.
Additionally, a new bipartisan program was created this year that allows schools to offer technical training programs so potential employees can earn valuable skills and certifications. Just as college students complete general education requirements and then work towards their major, this program allows school districts to create a technical diploma that could be earned above the traditional high school diploma. This new program would let students who have completed their core credits work towards one of the DPI-recommended, nationally recognized certifications or a certification developed by districts and local employers.
Another program designed to make sure high school students are graduating with career skills is Second Chance, which lets at-risk high school juniors and seniors work at a participating business to earn a wage, learn real skills and work towards an actual diploma, not just a GED. Governor Walker and a bipartisan group of legislators expanded this program.
Beyond this, Governor Scott Walker recently announced a three-year, $4 million pilot program to boost skills training for jobs that are available now. The program, Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grant is designed to foster partnerships between the Wisconsin Technical College System and businesses with advanced manufacturing employment needs. The Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grant, created by the non-profit Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, seeks to strengthen the ties between technical colleges, employers and job seekers.