A survey of 341 Wisconsin CEOs reveals a growing concern about finding enough skilled employees to fill job vacancies and facilitate growth.
The survey conducted by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce showed 60 percent of employers have difficulty hiring employees, and 69 percent of those say a lack of job skills is the reason.
While a shortage of skilled workers is a concern of employers, Madison College is seeing an all-time high in enrollment in areas of study that could fill those needs. In 2014, there are 1,755 students enrolled in the School of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology, which provides training in areas including manufacturing, transportation, construction and biosciences. The 2014 enrollment numbers are 6.47 percent higher than those in 2013.
“Wisconsin is the hub in the Great Lakes region for manufacturing. We outproduce GDP anywhere else in the country,” said Denise Reimer, interim dean of the School of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology at Madison College.
Reimer said the curriculum at Madison College is heavily influenced by the employers in the area in hopes of closing the job training gap.
“All of our programs are driven here by an advisory team; an advisory team of industry experts that come to the table and tell us what they are looking for, and our job is to listen,” Reimer said.
Seven hundred area businesses participate in the advisory board and meet with Madison College every semester to provide guidance. The state-of-the-art training facilities and equipment at Madison College give students a hands-on opportunity to learn and gain experience.
“It is the foundation of what the technical college is all about. We need to respond to our industries. We have to be a partner. We are their training source and the pipeline for our students to go right into those industries,” Reimer said.