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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 15, 2016
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
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Education and Talent Development Leaders Discuss Workforce Training and Retention at Oshkosh Summit

Department of Workforce Development, the University of Wisconsin System and other education leaders discuss future workforce strategies

OSHKOSH – Today, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Ray Allen joined University of Wisconsin System (UW System) President Ray Cross and other state education leaders at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh for a Workforce Alignment Workshop. The workshop was the first in a series which will be held statewide and are designed to allow Chief Executive Officers and Human Resource professionals an opportunity to engage the state's top talent development agency, the state's premier four-year universities, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and technical colleges on how to best meet employer's demand for skilled talent.

In March 2016, Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 742 into law, which requires DWD to provide student internship coordination. The bill established two full-time positions at DWD dedicated to connecting students with state businesses for internship opportunities and promoting internships as another solution to employers demand for skilled talent.

"As I travel the state, employers tell me they have open positions to fill, but can't find the skilled talent they need," Governor Walker said. "Student internship coordination is one more way for employers to help build a pipeline of skilled talent, and for students to gain valuable experience and develop a professional network in careers they are pursuing. I am pleased that workforce and education leaders are aligning with other stakeholders to support and coordinate internship opportunities in Wisconsin."

Internships are extremely valuable not only to the graduate, but also employers. College students have the opportunity to demonstrate their workplace skills to a potential employer, build a network with potential future employers and coworkers, which in-turn provides more opportunities for professional references and other resume building experiences. Employers who include internships as part of their business model get to observe a potential job candidate prior to hire while customizing the intern's skills to meet their unique employment needs.

"Teaching and learning is at the heart of the university experience, and internships provide both of those opportunities for students," President Cross said. "When a student participates in an internship with a Wisconsin organization, their success and possibility of retaining their talent in the state increases dramatically. The key is making that first connection, and we are excited to have so many partners helping us with this priority."

Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin's economy is thriving. According to the most recent data from the United States Department of Labor, Wisconsin had the second-fastest rate of private-sector job growth in May 2016 and had the fourth highest increase in private-sector jobs over the month. With over 90,000 jobs available on JobCenterofWisconsin.com, there is more room for growth and meeting the demand for skilled talent requires coordination between employers, educators and talent development agencies on how best to train and retain Wisconsin workers.

Through the Internship Coordination program, the state's already robust partnership between technical colleges, public and private universities and DWD are being utilized to build awareness of the value of internship opportunities among both businesses and students.

Dr. Rolf Wegenke is President of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the organization of the twenty-four independent (or private) institutions of higher learning in Wisconsin. Dr. Wegenke stressed that the future demands, not only increased talent development, but also concrete, innovative efforts for talent attraction. He also warned against focusing not just on today’s challenges, to the neglect of the challenges of the next five, ten, and twenty years.

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