Project Milwaukee

The perceived skills gap has been everywhere, it seems. The State of Wisconsin set out to study it and find solutions for connecting unemployed workers with existing jobs.

The Urban Economic Development Association will convene its annual summit to discuss it next week. And newspapers and magazines have devoted hundreds of column inches to exploring why this supposed gap has opened up.

Wisconsin Historical Society

Our Project Milwaukee: Help Wanted series this week is exploring the realities and myths of the "skills gap," the apparent mismatch between unemployed workers and existing jobs.

While Wisconsin continues shaking off the recession, thousands of workers still don’t have jobs. Yet businesses, particularly manufacturers, report having a difficult time filling certain positions. Several people actively addressing the problem defined it from their perspective.

Historic Photo Collection / Milwaukee Public Library

Many people are looking for work, while at the same time some employers say they can’t find skilled applicants to fill jobs. We’re reporting on the “skills gap” this week in our series, Project Milwaukee: Help Wanted.

The disconnect between jobs and workers is a relatively new phenomenon in Milwaukee. During the city’s manufacturing heyday, from the late 1800s until the 1970s, there were thousands of jobs in the Menomonee Valley alone – and a steady stream of workers to fill them.

Series Preview

Oct 26, 2012

There’s been increasing talk lately about the “skills gap” – the phenomenon of employers unable to find skilled workers. WUWM examines the issue in the series Project Milwaukee: Help Wanted.

The stories will air all next week on Morning Edition, Lake Effect and All Things Considered. WUWM also will host a community forum at MATC on Tuesday Oct. 30. We’ll ask expert panelists and audience members to talk about the role government, educators and other groups have, in connecting workers and jobs.

Members of a studio audience posed question to our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval panel about what happened in 2011 and where we might go from here, Friday morning at the Pabst Theater.

We conclude our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval live panel discussion with a look at what the future of Wisconsin should be.

We continue our live panel discussion of the legacy of the past year in Wisconsin politics, live from Cudahy's Irish Pub at the Pabst Theater.

All this week, as part of our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series, we’ve been trying to digest the events of the past year – from the budget repair bill to controversial legislation, to the ongoing recall efforts. Today, live from Cudahy's Irish Pub at the Pabst Theater, we speak with a panel of guests – including lawmakers and people affected by this turbulent 2011 in politics. We ask what the past year has meant and what their vision of the Wisconsin of the future might be.

Economist Critical of Gov. Walker's Job Claims

Dec 16, 2011

Our series, Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval draws to a close Friday.

Today, we’re examining how new legislation and a shift in state policies in 2011 have positioned Wisconsin for the future.

In 2010, Gov. Scott Walker ran on a pro-jobs agenda, promising to help create tens of thousands of jobs. He's been struggling to meet his goal.

Public Policy Forum Analyst Rob Henken talked to Bob Bach Friday, as part of our special Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval broadcast at Cudahy's Irish Pub, inside the Pabst Theater.

Henken discussed the direction he feels Wisconsin is headed in, after volatile year in state politics, which saw numerous changes in state law and policy.

As our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series concludes, Bob Bach talks to a variety of people about where they think the state is headed, after the sweeping and divisive political changes Republican Gov. Scott Walker promoted this year.

He spoke with Karen Royster of the left-leaning Institute for Wisconsin’s Future. She finds flaws in the GOP legislation.

Could State Government be Scaled Back Further?

Dec 16, 2011

WUWM concludes our week-long series, Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval Friday.

Bob Bach talks with a variety of guests about where they think Wisconsin is headed, based on big policy changes made by GOP leaders in 2011.

In the finale of our series, Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval, we are looking toward Wisconsin’s future -- in light of the sweeping and divisive political changes Republican Gov. Scott Walker ushered through in 2011.

Brett Healy, president of the conservative think tank the MacIver Institute, joined Bob Bach to offer his perspective.

It's a Wonderful Wisconsin?

Dec 15, 2011

Over the past week, our Project Milwaukee: State of Upheaval series has explored what the impact of the past year’s contentious political happenings has had on Wisconsin. We’ve identified winners and losers of the political fight and explored what lies ahead for the Badger State.

But we have to wonder, did it all matter? So what, that the debates on collective bargaining, the role of unions, and the size of government made Wisconsin a national lightning rod? Would these conversations have happened eventually? What would Wisconsin look like if none of this had happened?

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