Governor talks about new jobs plan

January 11, 2012

From “The governor stops in the Chippewa Valley to talk about new jobs plan” — The governor is hoping to play matchmaker with job-seekers and employers.

This week, Gov. Scott Walker rolled out a new jobs plan called Wisconsin Working.  It focuses on workforce training and connecting those who are out of work with available jobs.

In October, Governor Walker held a jobs forum in Eau Claire.

During the forum, Paula Kimbllin from Xcel Energy said this, “We also have a real issue with hiring skilled employees.  Welders are a big problem, engineers are a big problem.”

The governor heard similar comments at other events across the state.  Wisconsin Working looks to address that need.

“What we’re talking about is making it easier for people looking for work to be plugged into those jobs,” says Gov. Scott Walker, (R) Wisconsin.

Governor Walkers plan calls for twice as many job fairs, more staff at the Department of Workforce Development to match job-seekers with services and more outreach for Wisconsinites with an added emphasis on veterans.  A second piece of the plan focuses on training.

“One of the biggest things we’ve heard from employers is they need quicker training, which means they need shorter turnaround, they’re not even necessarily looking for a two-year degree as they are looking for an eight week or three month process to get someone in the door,” says Governor Walker.

The added emphasis on training is welcome news to Chippewa Valley Technical College President Bruce Barker.

“It’s something we’re certainly excited in because that’s our business, trying to prepare the next generation, the next workforce and to help our displaced workers,” says Barker.

Barker says CVTC can trim the length of a few of its programs, but others like the welding program are actually taking more time.

“They’ve identified additional job competencies they want us to cover because the on-the-job training was too long and so we’ve recently shifted our programming to two-year programming,” says Barker.  “Now students can still job out after one-year, but to provide someone with job skills in the welding area with less than one-year is really giving them few job skills.”

The announcement also comes months after the state budget cut state aid to colleges and put a freeze on the ability to raise the tax levy.

“If we’re talking about expanding programs or expanding enrollment, that’s going to be severely difficult with our current funding difficulties,” says Barker.

WQOW News 18 reached out to the governor’s office on Wednesday to know if the program was going to cost the state money.  The governor’s office was unable to provide those figures.  However, the governor did say changes made to collective bargaining should help technical colleges.

“The goal for the tech colleges is the tools we gave them in the budget, if you look at the total amount of budget reductions versus the total amount they can save from the collective bargaining changes we put in, it’s a net gain for technical schools statewide of over $22 million,” says Governor Walker.

Some of the proposed changes, like increasing the number of job fairs, can be implemented immediately.  Others will need to be approved by lawmakers first.

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