Project Milwaukee: Help Wanted

Uncovering the Truth Behind Wisconsin's Skills Gap

Ask local employers about the biggest challenge they face, and quite a few will cite the “skills gap.” Businesses say not enough local workers are prepared to fill skilled positions, a problem that only will worsen as Baby Boomers retire. From workers’ perspective, some jobs are not attractive, because they present no career track.

WUWM explored the disconnect between employers and workers in the series Project Milwaukee: Help Wanted. WUWM News reporters and Lake Effect producers addressed the skills gap, including its impact on the community and what leaders are doing to tackle the problem.

Expert panelists and audience members weighed in at a community forum in October of 2012 at MATC's downtown campus. The event focused on what role government, educators and other groups have in connecting workers and jobs.

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Project Milwaukee
10:14 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Milwaukee's Skills Gap: An Overview

Biz Times Milwaukee recently featured the skills gap as its cover story.

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.

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Project Milwaukee
10:11 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Was There a Skills Gap In the Manufacturing Boom?

Historian John Gurda says in Milwaukee's industrial boom years, new employees got up to speed almost entirely by on-the-job training.
Credit 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.

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Project Milwaukee
10:08 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Manufacturing Jobs Lost Their Luster

Desert Aire worker puts in extra hours to push a product to customer.

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.

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Project Milwaukee
10:04 am
Mon October 29, 2012

When Jobs and Workers Went Hand in Hand

Workers at Falk Corporation in Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley pose next to a large piece of industrial equipment. The company was established in 1894, and remains in the Valley today.
Credit 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.

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Project Milwaukee
10:00 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Series Preview

Listen to Project Milwaukee reports beginning Monday, Oct. 29, and join us for community forum at MATC on Tuesday, Oct. 30.

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.

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