MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) aims to take a region-by-region approach when it comes to linking higher education to job creation, and is still seeking input on how best to make that work.
Gov. Walker addressed Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce members about job growth on Wednesday.
He referenced one Milwaukee company that wants to expand but can't.
"They're not willing to add that third shift, because they don't believe today in their job market, they have enough skilled welders and machinists to fit the bill," said Gov. Walker.
The Governor has talked a lot about making sure higher education funding goes to promote training for those types of skilled trades.
But the employers surveyed by WMC say their biggest challenge is finding qualified professionals.
"That's where higher education, four year degrees are needed. Physicians, registered nurses, you look at information technology, IT related professions, there's still a tremendous need there," agreed Gov. Walker.
That's why the Governor says his team is looking at what employers are looking for on a region-by-region basis, and how to best fund higher education to meet those needs.
While skilled trades jobs may rank lower than some others in terms of hiring difficulty, WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer says they carry more weight.
"And manufacturing has a multiplier effect that maybe other sectors don't have. For every one factory job, it creates at least two other jobs in other sectors so we talk about it because of that multiplier effect," said Bauer.
Some of the jobs they would create are entry-level, and employers say those are the second-toughest positions to fill.
Bauer said that's due to a lack of soft skills among younger people.
"Showing up on time, being ready to work, these are the basics, but somehow we're losing that and we're very concerned, because Wisconsin has always been known for our very strong Midwestern work ethic. And that's been an important competitive advantage for us and we can't afford to lose it," said Bauer.
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