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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
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DWD Secretary Allen Joins UW System Leaders at UW-Superior to Highlight Internships and Other Talent Development Programs

Workforce, education and area businesses stress the importance of collaboration in third in a series of workshops

SUPERIOR – Today, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Ray Allen joined officials from the University of Wisconsin System (UW System), UW-Superior, the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU) and area businesses to highlight the state's efforts to coordinate workforce development and education initiatives to meet employers' need for skilled talent. The workshop, held at UW-Superior, was the third in a series of Workforce Alignment Workshops being held across the state.

"Internship programs are extremely valuable to employers, as well as students," Secretary Allen said. "While college students have the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in a work environment and build a network with potential future employers and coworkers, employers see a potential job candidate in action and provide the student with an opportunity to develop in-demand skills that could lead to a permanent job offer."

Last spring, Governor Walker signed Assembly Bill 742 into law, which requires DWD to dedicate two positions to coordinate and increase the number of internship opportunities available to college students. DWD is partnering with several organizations to build awareness of the value of internships and resources such as JobCenterofWisconsin.com, which today has over 92,000 jobs posted, and other important tools and resources.

"We are pleased to have DWD as a partner in the development of our new Career Connect website," UW System President Ray Cross said. "This portal is just one more way DWD and the UW System are working together to connect employers with talent while providing students valuable career experience. An internship or alternative job experience can lead to more graduates staying in Wisconsin and becoming part of our state workforce and economy."

"We were grateful to host this event at UW-Superior as we value greatly the on-the-job experience our students receive through internships with our various community partners," said UW-Superior Chancellor Renee Wachter. "These experiences are an integral part of the student experience, while also benefiting our local business community. These relationships are a significant reason why over 96 percent of our recent graduates go on to find related employment or continue their education in a related field."

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.

Today's workshop was the third in a series that will be held throughout Wisconsin this fall. The goal of the workshops is to provide employers with an open forum to help guide Wisconsin's talent development and education priorities, while learning about the existing opportunities the state has to help employers build their own customizable pipeline of skilled talent.

Later, Secretary Allen joined members of the Superior Rotary to highlight DWD's talent development initiatives, including the Internship Coordination program, and discuss strategies to promote greater collaboration between DWD and Wisconsin employers. Both events highlight Workforce Development Month, which Governor Walker proclaimed for Wisconsin, and continue DWD's statewide tour to receive feedback that will help define Wisconsin's future talent development strategy.

For more information, please contact Timothy R. Strait, DWD Coordinator of the Wisconsin Internship Initiative, at Timonthy.Strait@dwd.wisconsin.gov.

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