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Statement by Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman on Joint Committee on Finance Action
"Given the excellence of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and the crucial role it plays in fueling our economy through some of the best training and educational programs in the country, I am disappointed by some of today’s actions by the Joint Committee on Finance.
"While the national economy remains stagnant it makes no sense for the state to cut a program that makes it possible for Wisconsin workers to get the skills needed to work in their community.
"With Wisconsin’s serious health care worker shortage, I am particularly surprised that the Joint Finance Committee has not supported the Governor’s budget proposal which would have increased support to Wisconsin’s technical colleges for expanded health care worker educational programs around the state. A cut of $7.4 million will seriously impact this program. A total cut of $14.8 million for the entire Technical College System is of even greater concern.
"According to the labor market analyst experts in our Department of Workforce Development, the health care industry is the largest employer in the state of Wisconsin and it accounts for 10,000 job openings annually. By 2008, it is expected to create over 45,000 new jobs. Added pressure on the health care industry’s workforce will come from a rapidly aging population. Eighty per cent of the new job growth in the health care industry will occur in fields for which WTCS provides the majority of graduates and employees. Clearly these statistics speak to our need to invest in this industry.
"The Governor’s proposal would have invested in health care worker training and education while also reducing overhead and administration.
"I fear that the actions taken today to reject the support offered by the Governor for our technical college system, including his proposed consolidation to strengthen health care educational programs, could harm our ability to invest in our workforce and fuel Wisconsin’s economic growth. "
Note: Secretary Gassman also serves on the Wisconsin Technical College System’s Board.
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Content Contact: Rose Lynch