Walker plan for workforce is good step
As chairman of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB), I welcome Gov. Scott Walker’s announcement that the state will begin investing state money in workforce development.
For years the SWWDB and the 10 other regional workforce development boards in Wisconsin have been on the front lines in our local communities. We help employers find skilled, qualified employees, and job seekers get the training they need to find jobs.
Our workforce board is made up of local employers who—along with elected officials, educators, labor professionals, and community leaders—are committed to developing job skills specific to the needs of area employers. This on-the-ground, grass-roots membership makes the SWWDB the most nimble and responsive organization addressing the needs of employers and job seekers in our region.
A major challenge that workforce boards face is ensuring that employed workers can access training throughout their careers that will keep their skills current and their employers competitive in a rapidly changing, global market. Workforce boards such as the SWWDB administer millions of dollars in federal job funding for employers and job seekers. However, federal rules limit our ability to provide training to workers unless they meet certain eligibility criteria or they possess barriers to employment.
While we are proud of our accomplishments in helping job seekers find meaningful employment and self-sufficiency, the workplace is different today and needs new and innovative approaches to address the skills needs of employers. The SWWDB, because of the leadership of local business people, is in the best position to provide that assistance. Providing state funding will allow our workforce boards and others in Wisconsin to work with local businesses to build their employee skills. This, in turn, allows employers to expand their businesses and grow the local and state economy.
I, and the other members of the SWWDB, pledge our commitment to work with Gov. Walker and the Legislature to build the workforce skills and economy of Wisconsin. Our board will continue to not only help job seekers find jobs but to use our proven expertise to train existing workers and help businesses expand.
Workforce boards are composed of your local employers, your educators, your elected representatives and your neighbors. The work of the SWWDB ensures that decisions are made where they count the most, at the local level. We are thankful for the infusion of state workforce funds. It is a great start, and we are dedicated on continuing to build on this much-needed investment.
Scott Stocker is chairman of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, 1370 N. Water St., Platteville, WI 53818. Readers can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 608-342-4220.