As the final blog post of this short series on “The Technical College Effect,” I will address some of the results we produce for area employers. The “infographic” facts you see included here primarily speak to the ratings employers give Wisconsin’s technical colleges on key factors such as satisfaction with our graduates, the value we bring to their overall business success, and whether or not our customized training services meet expectations. As you can see, those results are extremely favorable.
And while we have industry advisors engaged with every one of our occupational programs helping to guide our curriculum, program offerings, equipment and technology applications, we must continue to find ways to strengthen our working ties with area employers. How do we ensure that the membership of every program advisory committee is representative of that related industry sector across the region? This is really a challenge given the geography we cover and the diversity of employers in virtually every industry sector (e.g. company size, specialized product or service lines, application of technology). But industry diversity is something we must continue to develop in our advisory committees if we are going to be as effective as possible in meeting workforce needs.
Right now, for a variety of reasons, many employers are struggling to find enough people with the skills they need for their workforce. And the business leaders I talk with in every sector today are worried about where they are going to find future employees. This week alone, I’ve heard this concern expressed from the agri-business sector, the construction industry, the heavy equipment sector, and the cabinet-making operations here in the region. Technical colleges are front and center on this issue as we produce the skilled graduates that this economy is calling for, just not enough of them.
There is tremendous and growing pressure to build the workforce Wisconsin needs. Our technical colleges will need to find ways to be even more responsive to these needs and even more creative in our approach to this issue. I’m confident we will do our part and more. Other key players in addressing this challenge, however, include employers themselves, parents, schools, communities, and elected officials as each plays an important role just by the choices that each make and where the priorities fall. I know our faculty and staff will continue to lead efforts in addressing workforce needs and look forward to working with other partners in these efforts that are critically important to our economy. What trends or needs are you seeing for future workplace training?