For information on these programs and projects, contact:

Best Practices

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The DWD Division of Employment and Training Best Practice website is a location for Wisconsin's Workforce Development Board employees to review state and national best practice approaches. As a workforce professional, you can use this site to learn more about activities specific to your current projects or simply read about the latest workforce development activities..

Best Practice introduces employees of Wisconsin's Workforce Development Boards to best practice programs, or navigation to other state and national best practice sites. As a workforce professional, you can peruse the topics presented below or use the links provided to review other sites. This page is also complementary to the WDA Best Practice SharePoint site where those with access can take advantage of the services offered at that location.

The page will be updated biweekly with topic overviews important to workforce development activities. You will see new topics introduced here, but if you miss something of interest after an update, simply go to the archive page. Information will be stored there for a period of time. At this time there are no archived topics. As archived topics become available an archive link will be added in the blue information spaces on the right hand side of this page.

Check out the topics below, review the links on the right side of the page, or those with access to WDA Best Practices can benefit from enhanced connectivity. This is the page where Wisconsin's workforce professionals have an opportunity to learn more about subject matter that can enable leveraging the activities of other workforce professionals from across the state or the nation.

Business Services

Automated machinery on a factory assembly floor

The evidence is convincing that industry clusters are an effective organizing framework for positively impacting economic and workforce development activities.

More than 25 states have adopted cluster strategies as a way to do business in states and regions. The cluster approach is inherently demand-driven, skills required, training program requirements and candidate assessment factors to improve successful transition from training to long-term employment.

Business Solutions Professional

Two men in hard hats engaged in a discussion

Since 2007 Michigan has certified 600 Business Solutions Professionals (BSP) through 17 cohorts. 60% of the trainees have been members of Workforce Development organizations, 20% have been in organizations connected to workforce development, and 20% have been outside of the state's workforce development organizations. BSP is Michigan's solution to economic gardening. The state believes that BSPs have and will continue to be the driver that fosters a more entrepreneurial approach to region and statewide prosperity. In contrast to traditional state business service assistance, economic gardening focuses on strategic growth challenges, such as conducting emergency response activities based on in-state economic/market conditions. BSPs operating under the banner of economic gardening help CEOs identify issues hindering their growth and then leverage sophisticated tools to deliver insight and information that is applied immediately.

The process is based on using the five principals of business services in a more effective manner. They are:

  1. Networking
  2. Partnership
  3. Assets
  4. Structured Process- Entering, Fact Finding, Implementation, and Evaluation
  5. Business Relations

The BSP process is a vehicle to broaden the business services playing field. Michigan has determined that the business service process has not been effective when the focus of those efforts has been to collect job orders and not support an effort to ask the big why questions. The state surmised that business services needed to provide a value add component and go the distance of taking a real interest in the business. When the process was based on job orders, the state's business community never appreciated the overall value a team of business solutions professionals offered. Business services have to change from a singular focus to one more interested in taking and filling job orders. The business community needed a source that provided operational support strategic support, component as well as offering an interconnection to the business community. No other resource group offered an unbiased support group, and when the unions were made between, economic development, manufacturing process improvement, tech colleges, and workforce development, the business community realized the value of the association.

Labor Market Understanding

Group of three in hard hats having a discussion

Each month Job Center of Wisconsin (JCW) Metrics report displays characteristics of job postings statewide and by local workforce development areas.

Each report contains graphic presentations of job openings over the last two years, top 15 jobs for the area, and top five jobs posted by education, plus a lot more information. New January 2013.

Economic Analysis

A welder completes a weld with the facemask close to the work

Economic analysis is vital for a business services discussion with your area businesses. It provides an opportunity to talk about the economic condition of the the region and how that might impact the business client. Through that icebreaker, the business service professional has an opportunity to discuss the services offered by the state.

The three sites below provide information on the state's economy.

Youth Apprenticeship Programs

Group of nine young men and women clothed to represent several fields of work

The DWD Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program is a statewide school-to-work initiative. Authorized in 1991, Wisconsin was first in the nation to establish a YA program which combined academic and technical instruction with mentored, on-the-job training. YA is a career cluster model that provides high school juniors and seniors with opportunities to explore career pathways. In addition, it prepares students for pathway options after high school, whether it is directly into the workforce, a technical college or a university. Employers play an active role in developing the skills of their future workforce by hiring youth apprentices and training them to industry standards.

YA is delivered locally through a network of consortium partnership; presently there are 32 local YA consortiums. State grant funding is awarded annually, as seed money, to all eligible consortiums for basic YA program operation, and that funding is to be supplemented with additional funding resources.

Read an excerpt about the variety of YA program options, along with employer and student ROI testimonials on the Youth Apprenticeship website:

Key program features include:

A recent best practice includes the blossoming YA partnership with the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) youth program services. This partnership promises to attract additional candidates to YA and prove beneficial in better meeting the needs of both employers and students.

Business Designed Training Programs

A man in protective eyewear inspects a job on a metal lathe

PowerTest, in Sussex, WI has developed its own internal training program known as Manufacture's Resource Training. The program is geared toward developing entry level machinist. They are training a class of 10 over a 5 week period. Graduation rate for the program is projected to be 8 students per class. The program is run by an industrial arts teacher who has been charged with ensuring the training program stands on its own. Power Test will take a single graduate wile the remaining will be employed by other machining companies in the area. For the five weeks the student is in the program they receive a pay of $8 per hour. The company invests $5,000 per student. Companies hiring graduates pay a $2.5 per hour fee for the first year of the graduate's employment which covers the training costs. Ti date, the company has not had a single student dismissed from any of the hiring companies.

High School Tech Program

A bright arc illuminates a welder's workspace

Working in conjunction with MATC and the investor businesses, West Allis High School Milwaukee is developing a hands-on welding curriculum. The program will enable students to have a rewarding high value four year program. The program will provide both the opportunity to gain a credential as well as learn and work in a facility producing saleable parts. As it is designed today, the facility will have 18 booths for the 11th and 12th graders to use. They will be able to learn Tig welding, Stick ARC welding, as well as oxyacetylene welding. The duration of the class period will be 50 minutes.

Ninth Graders will enter the program under the name Career Academy in fall 2014. Their focus will be on the classroom portion of the training. They will learn to understand drawings, blue print reading, develop the necessary math skills, and perform any prep work required to support actual welding activities. This level of activity will continue into the 10th grade where classroom work will expand. It is expected that these students will be doing both technical math and technical science. The goal of the program is provide students with the math and science components required for either continuing on to college or going directly to work after high school. For the career counselor, this was a key of students the opportunity to value the educational track. Vocational education, and welding specifically, was not for students wanting to end their education at high school but is an option for post secondary students also. The expected size of the classes will be 20-25 kids per grade level.

Grant Opportunities

Shining metal gears are connected randomly as in a work of art

Please check out the link below. Are there any of these grant opportunities that warrant further work?

Two things to remember as we look at the list:

  1. We have grant writers that can help with/do the application; and that
  2. Increasing funding diversity is a departmental strategic plan goal.

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