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Scott Walker, Governor
Raymond Allen, Secretary

Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

Thursday, September 8, 2016
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Workforce Development Month Is a Time to Celebrate Wisconsin's Economic Successes and Look Toward the Future

A Guest Column by Secretary Ray Allen, Department of Workforce Development

Governor Scott Walker recently proclaimed September as Workforce Development Month and, along with the recent Labor Day Holiday, this gives us all a reason to celebrate the economic success Wisconsin has enjoyed in recent years under his leadership, with much of the success attributable to the talents and dedication of Wisconsin's best-in-class workforce.

As Secretary of Wisconsin's lead talent development agency, I routinely meet with the employers and workers who make this state a great place to work, live and play. A common topic is the progress that Wisconsin has enjoyed the last several years and the stark contrast to the Great Recession during the late 2000's.

For context:

With the economic progress we have enjoyed comes more challenges. Wisconsin's economy is booming, and outperforming the national economy in many different measures, but employers are still struggling to find candidates with the desired skills needed to fill their vacant positions or to expand their operations. The national workforce is aging and Wisconsin's is no different. But these challenges also present great opportunities for our workforce. Identifying high growth careers, in-demand skill sets and targeted training opportunities are essential tasks for today's worker, and will increase the probability of landing not just a job, but a family-supporting career.

The partnerships between economic development, education, Wisconsin businesses and talent development agencies like DWD are absolutely vital to meeting tomorrow's workforce challenges. DWD programs like Youth Apprenticeship, Registered Apprenticeship, Wisconsin Fast Forward, employment services offered to individuals with disabilities through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the recently implemented Internship Coordination program are all designed to help businesses connect with workers and implement a worker training program that supplies them with a sustainable pipeline of skilled workers well into the future.

Over the next few weeks, DWD officials will hold a series of business tours, listening sessions and workforce appreciation events designed to highlight proven workforce strategies, solicit feedback from our partners and acknowledge the hard work of our staff that is helping drive Wisconsin's economic success. With over 90,000 jobs currently available on the Job Center of Wisconsin website, and projections showing nearly 100,000 job openings to fill annually through 2024, there is more work to be done. I am confident that through hard work, dedication and the work ethic of the Wisconsin worker, we will continue to meet those challenges and move our state forward.