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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

Monday, October 31, 2016
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/news/
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On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Celebrating Wisconsin Manufacturing Industry Year Round

A Guest Column by DWD Secretary Ray Allen

As Wisconsin Manufacturing Month ends October 31, it is critical to continue spreading the word about what's been learned and celebrated about the industry over the past month.

Governor Walker proclaimed October as Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin to draw attention to the benefits of a career in our manufacturing industry. Through open houses and tours, manufacturers across the state demonstrated to middle and high school students, as well as the public, that manufacturing is full of technology and offers safe, clean work spaces and opportunities for advancement.

We also learned, thanks to the creativeness of our partners at Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, that employees have the chance to manufacture some really cool things in Wisconsin. Among the 20,000 votes cast for hundreds of products in the "Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin Contest," it was Harley-Davidson's Milwaukee-Eight Engine that was bestowed the honor of Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin.

These are the kinds of activities that help re-introduce manufacturing as a challenging and rewarding career field in Wisconsin to the next generation of workers, their parents and others who want to keep Wisconsin growing and prospering for decades to come. Indeed, with more than 462,000 Wisconsinites working in the manufacturing industry, accounting for 19 percent of gross domestic product, and contributing over $57 billion to Wisconsin’s economic growth, the current and future state of manufacturing is too important to our state's economy and quality of life to highlight for one month out of the year.

We know that due to retirements and economic expansion, demographic trends and the 90,000-plus openings currently listed on jobcenterofwisconsin.com, Wisconsin employers have positions that they are looking to fill right now and will need to fill. This is particularly true for manufacturers.

This is one reason why Governor Walker and the Legislature have concentrated investments on talent development programs like Youth Apprenticeship and Wisconsin Fast Forward, which help build a pipeline of talent flowing to this very important industry.

I also encourage parents or guardians, teachers, guidance counselors, family members and friends to invest time in the weeks and months ahead to discuss manufacturing with students. I also encourage the students who were given the opportunity to see a manufacturing employer firsthand to share your observations and experience with your parents, mentors, teachers and your peers.

These continued investments will go a long way toward boosting the supply of available talent to meet the demand of Wisconsin's robust, world-class and critical manufacturing sector.