Despite recent trends in above-average levels of unemployment, thousands of jobs remain unfilled. Employers are struggling to find qualified, skilled workers to fill high-wage positions. Our educational systems and other training partners must adequately prepare our students and labor force with the skills and information necessary to secure well-paying jobs. WMC supports the following initiatives to help provide employers with access to a pipeline of skilled works that enables economic growth:
- Improve links between job opportunities and the workforce. Develop robust data on workforce and job opportunities, and use data to link the unemployed to available jobs. Use employment opportunity data to drive the investment of workforce training dollars.
- Enhance workforce training resources. Include funding for workforce training in state and local economic development incentive portfolios. Rationalize and consolidate the numerous workforce training programs where possible.
- Encourage technical colleges and UW to focus on training for the workplace. Use data to identify sectors of greatest need, and enhance occupational information available to students. Use funding incentives to drive programmatic changes, and facilitate credit transfers between technical colleges, UW and the K-12 system.
- Align the K-12 system with workforce needs. Focus on STEM, career and tech education, and enhance opportunities for dual enrollment. Simplify youth apprenticeship and youth options programs, and align them with youth employment laws.
- Expand charter schools options. Charter schools have greater flexibility to teach in ways that best fit the needs of their students. Expand the law to allow more than just public school districts and certain universities to authorize charter schools.
- Support communities that want public/private school choice. Give communities the flexibility to provide parents with educational choices they believe are in the best interest of their children.
- Encourage schools to establish academic and career plans for all students. Encourage schools to guide students toward the career path of their choice, including vocational and technical education training.
- Enhance school district accountability. Improve evaluations and accountability standards for students, teachers and individual schools, and expand public access to the evaluation data.
- Develop performance-based compensation systems. Reward high-performing teachers who improve student achievement, and who make a commitment to professional development.