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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
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UW System, Workforce Leaders Gather at UW-Stout to Discuss Internships, other Talent Attraction & Retention Initiatives

Department of Workforce Development, University of Wisconsin System and other education leaders discuss future workforce strategies at second in a series of workshops

MENOMONIE – Today, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Assistant Deputy Secretary Dave Anderson joined University of Wisconsin (UW) System President Ray Cross and other state education and workforce leaders for a Workforce Alignment Workshop at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie. The workshop was designed to engage employers, HR professionals and other stakeholders in a dialogue on ways the state's workforce, education and economic development partners can meet the need for skilled talent today and in the years to come.

"Our success in developing the workforce requires an all-hands-on-deck strategy that encourages communication and collaboration across the education and talent development areas," DWD Secretary Ray Allen said. " By working together on programs such as internships, we not only can provide more students with work-based experiences and employers with potential future employees, but we can take important steps to retain our best and brightest here in Wisconsin, as we know students who complete internships in Wisconsin often stay after graduation."

Last spring, Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 742 into law, requiring DWD to provide statewide 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.

"Connecting UW System students with Wisconsin employers is one of the key System-level priorities within our 2020FWD strategic framework, approved by the Board of Regents last week," UW System President Ray Cross said. "Our Career Connect web portal, set to launch in September, will keep us in strong alignment with the needs of employers and the economy by helping link student talent with state workforce needs and, in the process, increasing the odds of retaining eventual UW System graduates 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.

"We were honored to host this event because the great majority of our students already have on-the-job experiences before they graduate through internships or our Cooperative Education Program," said UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer. "These experiences are a major reason that our graduates have a 97.3 percent employment rate within six months of leaving campus."

Dr. Rolf Wegenke, president of the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU), urged participants to take the broad view of the jobs of the future. He pointed out that the top 10 in-demand jobs graduates will hold in four years do not exist today, and that graduates will hold between 10 and 14 jobs by the time they turn 38 years old.

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.

"Meeting the workforce needs of the region is at the heart of CVTC’s mission," said Bruce Barker, president of Chippewa Valley Technical College. "We work closely with employers in the area to be sure that our graduates have the skills needed in today’s workplace. This workshop will strengthen our partnership with other stakeholders in this ongoing effort."

Today's workshop was the second of several being held in locations across Wisconsin this fall.

For more information on the Internship Coordination Program, please contact David.Karst@dwd.wisconsin.gov.

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