Wisconsin needs a qualified workforce. We need to adequately fund K-12 education so students have a thorough grounding in basic skills. They need those skills to succeed in colleges, technical colleges, jobs, life, and to be able to change to the several different occupations in which they may find themselves.
Colleges and technical colleges need to be adequately funded because recent graduates are a source of job candidates. It is tempting to expect colleges and technical colleges to focus on educating students in the jobs where there is a present shortage of workers. That idea works for the immediate future, but is too narrow a view because new jobs continue to develop as technology advances. Graduates need a thorough grounding in general education so they can adapt to future changes in their field and so they can change to another field should their field become obsolete.
It is not hard to fill vacancies in businesses. The employer should look at the high number of unemployed workers in Wisconsin. Some of them may have the required skills. Because a person has been unemployed for a long time, he or she should not automatically be passed over. Their skills may be a little rusty, but mentoring should help them become productive. Others may have skills in fields related to those desired and require minimum additional training to fill vacancies. Internships often work well.
Adequate funding and support for K-12 education, colleges, and technical colleges is required to meet the challenges of the future.
Elbert J. Rackow