Hundreds of jobs open in Marathon County, central Wisconsin

June 25, 2012

From “Hundreds of jobs open in Marathon County, central Wisconsin” — People looking for work in central Wisconsin have heard the same refrain over and over: Well-paying jobs abound in the health care and advanced metalworking fields.

But for those who can’t enter one of those professions, the news isn’t great. The manufacturing, medical/education and trade/transportation/utility fields are the dominant employers, representing 66 percent of the total job force in Marathon County in 2011, according to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce.

The second tier of jobs, based on the number of people employed in central Wisconsin, includes the financial industry and the leisure and hospitality fields, which make up 16 percent of the jobs. The number of jobs in those two fields dropped from 2010 to 2011 in Marathon County, though hundreds of related jobs were open as of this month, according to the Department of Workforce.

The good news is that employers are hiring in those fields and training and education is available in central Wisconsin. Education and skill development can be obtained in as little as a few classes for a certificate, all the way up to a four-year degree.

And jobs are plentiful. Hundreds of jobs, including loan officers, credit counselors, wait staff, desk clerks and maintenance workers in the leisure and hospitality fields, were open for applications as of June 16 in Marathon County, and even more across all of central Wisconsin.

“You can infer from that data that there are opportunities for people to make a transition — dislocated workers or people looking for employment,” said John Westbury, an economist in the Office of Economic Advisors, a division of the DWD.

Back to school

People looking for career changes have options when looking to improve their skills or learn new ones.

Students can take introductory courses at the University of Wisconsin branches in central Wisconsin toward degrees in business administration, finance, as well as hotel, restaurant and tourism management. While many majors require students to transfer to a four-year college, the University of Wisconsin Marathon County and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point allow students to complete the UWSP business administration program at the UWMC campus.

The UWSP partnership is an example of how some Wausau-area residents who work in the business field can continue their education without having to move, said Jim Rosenberg, an adult student recruiter at UWMC.

“Even if a person gets into a job with the minimum qualifications, they look at what can get them ahead in that career field,” Rosenberg said.

For some people, a four-year degree will take too long.

Students at Northcentral Technical College in Wisconsin can improve their skills by simply taking a few courses specializing in computer programs such as Microsoft Excel, bookkeeping, or food and beverage safety.

NTC offers an entrepreneurship program that teaches basic business concepts, such as obtaining financing, buying supplies and managing staff. Brad Gast, a continuing education adviser at NTC, said he recently had a man who wanted to open his own restaurant in northern Wisconsin take the entrepreneurship classes.

“Most of those people develop their skills and go out and start their own (business) and live their dreams,” Gast said of the entrepreneurship students.


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