Job Growth and Skilled Workers–Don’t We Need Both?

Well, we now have a State budget for the next two years.  While I certainly understand that we can’t spend what we don’t have at any level…personally or organizationally, or at the local, state or federal government level…budgets are still about priorities and what is most important at any given time.

With the passage of the State budget, resulting in a 30% reduction in state funding for technical colleges, along with strict limits on our ability to adjust the local property tax levy, I’m concerned about how we (and all educational systems) are going to support the kind of job growth our state leaders seem interested in generating.

The Oshkosh Northwestern editorial dated June 4, 2011, really hits the nail on the head.  They are exactly right in using the headline, “Cutting technical colleges at odds with job growth.”

A few weeks later, I was reading the June 20, 2011, edition of The Business News that featured a recent survey conducted by The Nicolet Bank Business Pulse designed to gauge CEO perceptions of the challenges and opportunities in leading their organizations here in the New North.  Not surprising to me, the top two greatest challenges were “hiring great talent” and “enhancing skills and knowledge.”  This concern isn’t unique to northeast Wisconsin, as we continue to hear about the need for people with the skill sets required in today’s economy, skill sets that far too many people don’t have.

We are all committed to job creation for our State and our local communities.  I just hope we have the resources to support the development of people for those jobs, including those who are currently underemployed and unemployed.  The two are inextricably linked, except in the priorities of our State government and made quite clear in the new budget.  Since budgets require prioritization, do you agree that in this economy, funding for Wisconsin’s technical colleges should be reduced by 30%?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

2 thoughts on “Job Growth and Skilled Workers–Don’t We Need Both?

  1. Carol Tyler

    It absolutely boggles the mind. I struggle to understand the logic, if there is any, of the cut to the technical colleges. Will would-be students be forced to attend high-tuition private colleges with no guarantee of a job? The Governor should be leading a campaign – ‘Technical Colleges – now more than ever’ – rather than clipping their wings.

  2. Brian Donovan

    With my fiance, Becca, attending FVTC and with the interactions I’ve had as the result, I remain dumbfounded at the impact this is having on community colleges like FVTC. Balance our state and federal budgets? Yes, by all means, you can’t spend money you don’t have. But, what I see happening is students being driven into higher and higher debt now, too, in order to get that job they’re hoping their schooling and training is preparing them for. How can they even dare put their hopes and dreams on that when employers won’t hire with the threat of higher taxes, too. My hat is off to you, Dr. May….I don’t have any quick answers, but am putting my efforts politically and current event-wise into hopefully getting some of this resolved.


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