Workforce Development Conference: March 21, 2013
Solving the Skills Shortage: The Workforce Paradox
Solutions from Wisconsin
One year ago, the workforce paradox was foreign to almost everyone except those employers having difficulty hiring skilled employees. Thanks to the combined efforts of businesses, educators, local chambers of commerce, and state leaders it has moved to the forefront.
The WMC Foundation followed up on its more than 50 listening sessions with over 300 manufacturers by visiting all 16 technical colleges, addressing 1,200 business and education leaders, and making presentations throughout Wisconsin. The level of awareness about the mismatch of jobs and skills has now become everyday conversation as parents, students, and counselors explore careers.
The second annual Workforce Paradox Conference celebrated the progress that has been made and discussed the plans necessary to make Wisconsin competitive in the training and development of human capital.
Conference Highlights Included
- Briggs & Stratton CEO Todd Teske
- Best practices at the state and local level
- Ask the expert sessions
- Tours of Briggs & Stratton
- Advice from leading business and education leaders
Kurt R. Bauer, President/CEO, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce
Kurt Bauer became President/CEO of WMC in April, 2011. As the state chamber of commerce, WMC represents nearly 3,500 employers in Wisconsin which employ nearly 500,000 hard-working people. Kurt strongly believes Workforce Development should continue being a high priority for WMC.
What a Difference a Year Can Make
Jim Morgan, President, WMC Foundation
Since last March, the WMC Foundation has promoted and educated people on the skills gap, launched Manufacturing Month, worked with local communities to build stronger business and education partnerships, partnered with education associations and state departments, and advocated on behalf of the workforce development issue. This “year in review” highlighted what has happened in the Badger State.
What Have You Done For Me Lately?
State Education Agencies Leadership Panel
of Public Instruction
|Kevin Reilly (invited)
Leaders from our state’s education agencies discussed the progress their departments have made in addressing the skills gap and what they have planned for 2013-14.
Now That I Have Your Attention
Business Leadership Panel
Marshfield Area Chamber
of Commerce & Industry
QTI of Southeastern
Oftentimes employers do not know where to engage in the educational system or who to talk to about being involved. However, those who take the time to figure it out are rewarded with a better understanding of student preparation and, ultimately, higher quality employees. This panel discussed how these business leaders got involved and why it was well worth the effort.
Todd Teske, Chairman, President & CEO, Briggs & Stratton Corporation
Briggs & Stratton produces some of the world's most reliable lawn mower engines and small engines. For over 100 years, they have manufactured engines that are durable, reliable and just easy to use and maintain. Every year, 3,000 employees build over 10 million small engines right here in America. Those are just some of the reasons why 8 out of 10 lawn mower brands choose to utilize Briggs & Stratton engines to power their lawn tractors and push mowers. To continue to be a worldwide leader, highly skilled individuals are a necessity.
Yes, It Can Be Done
Education Leadership Panel
Tech. & Eng. Teacher
Watertown High School
WI Tech. Educ. Assn.
Brillion High School
Northcentral Technical College
Throughout Wisconsin, innovative educators are creatively addressing the skills gap and working with business and community leaders to ensure a qualified workforce. This panel provided examples from first grade through post-secondary education.
Wisconsin’s Workforce: A Point of Differentiation
State Workforce Agencies Leadership Panel
Wisconsin Department of
As employers decide about location and growth, the availability of a skilled workforce is more often than not the driving factor. This panel discussed what is being done in Wisconsin to ensure we are competitive in the talent race.
So Now What
Jim Morgan, President, WMC Foundation
The State of Wisconsin had a very busy 2012 when it came to discussing, planning, researching, and implementing workforce development strategies. Yet, all of that work was just the first mile of a marathon. The WMC Foundation announced its initiatives for 2013 as Wisconsin strives to be the leader in developing the deepest talent pool in the world.
Special Sessions Held Throughout the Day
Ask the Expert
Speakers and other workforce leaders were available for small group discussions. Many attendees took the opportunity to talk one-on-one with individuals experienced in developing programs and measuring success.
Attendees had the opportunity to tour Briggs & Stratton’s manufacturing facilities. This provided a hands-on look at modern manufacturing and demonstrated the challenges of competing in today's global marketplace.
Call for Best Practices
The WMC Foundation, in its ongoing effort to publicize best practices and jump start innovative business-education partnerships, is looking for successful initiatives from around Wisconsin. These high-quality programs will be collected and disseminated statewide.
The Foundation is looking for what is being done, how it is being done, and how success is being measured in the following critical areas of workforce development:
- Innovation in career and technical education
- Student engagement in career awareness
- Faculty (k-12 and post-secondary) awareness and engagement in career counseling
- Company engagement in student career counseling
- Workplace learning opportunities
- Company engagement in local business-education partnership
- Parental education and involvement in career awareness
- Chamber of Commerce
- Local chamber leadership in business-education partnerships
If you have an outstanding and effective experience outside these suggested areas, feel free to submit that as well.
Send your initiative to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Best Practice” in the subject line and include: name, organization, email, phone, initiative title and description (500 words or less).
Location and Directions
The event was held at Briggs & Stratton Corporation, 12301 West Wirth Street, Wauwatosa, WI 53222
This conference was made possible with support from the following sponsors: