TOMMY G. THOMPSON
For Immediate Release: March 18, 1999
Contact: Darrin Schmitz (608) 266-9806; Gene Kussart (608) 261-4576;
Dave Eberhardt (414) 377-2700; Phil Neuenfeldt (414) 771-0700
GOVERNOR RECEIVES REPORT ON FUTURE OF WORKFORCE
Report outlines strategies for meeting Wisconsin's employment needs
MADISON - The Governors Task Force on Technical Education today presented Gov. Tommy G. Thompson its report on "Technical Education and Training: The Future of Wisconsins Workforce."
The Task Force, appointed by the governor last fall and Co-Chaired by Dave Eberhardt of the Tecumseh Products Company and Phil Neuenfeldt, Secretary/Treasurer-Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, was charged by Gov. Thompson to develop solutions to the workforce needs of businesses around the state.
"For Wisconsins economy to remain strong and vibrant we must devise new strategies to provide our business sector with a skilled and talented workforce," Gov. Thompson said. "The report is a blueprint to forging partnerships with business, labor, education, state and local government to ensure Wisconsin continues to grow and prosper."
The report stresses the need to increase the amount of technical education Wisconsins students receive at all levels of instruction through the creation of technical education standards for all K-12 school districts, and by making technology a core competency at all state technical colleges and university system programs.
In addition, the report calls for:
- The creation of a Joint Council on Work and Education, comprised of members from business, labor and government, to implement the recommendations.
- Maintaining and expanding employer training grants for hiring youth apprentices.
- Providing wage and benefit guarantees for workers willing to teach skills.
- Providing classroom credit for "real world" work experience.
- Creating incentives to expand youth apprenticeships to 5,000 and adult apprenticeships by 10 percent in high demand technical occupations.
- Creating a statewide media campaign to emphasize the benefits of a technical education to high school students and their parents.
- Recruiting businesses, associations and labor organizations that have a vested interest in assuring a skilled workforce to join with state government and the post-secondary educational institutions in the campaign to promote technical education/careers.
- A tuition reimbursement program for those who complete a technical college program in a high demand technical occupational area and work in that field.
- Cooperation and incentives to implement lifelong learning in the workplace.
- Bringing employers and unions together to address skills shortages in their industry.
- Creation of incentives for employers that provide education and training.
- Providing flexible open entry/open exit training opportunities.
- Encouraging training for non-English speaking workers.
The report addresses concerns raised by 435 businesses during the Workforce Forums held throughout the state last summer, and provides recommendations that emphasize the need for increased cooperation from all sectors of Wisconsins economy; business, labor, education and government.
"Removing barriers that prevent workers from attaining the skills and training necessary to find and keep high skilled, high wage jobs is our ultimate goal," Gov. Thompson said.
"The Task Force did a tremendous job at identifying areas that we can target for improvement and work to ensure we are meeting the employment demands of our business sector."
The Governors Task Force on Technical Educations report can be accessed on the internet in the afternoon of March 20, 1999 at: http://www.dwd.state.wi.us/dwd/task.force/teched.htm