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The LIFE Study says: Discussion groups tackle Northeastern Wisconsin issues

Jul. 5, 2013
 
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LIFE study

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Participants in the 20/20 Conference were organized into 20 discussion tables, four tables in each of five topic areas chosen before the conference.

These discussion topics rose out of the results of the 2011 LIFE Study conducted in several counties of Northeast Wisconsin. Following are the discussion topics, as presented to conference participants, with keys to findings in the LIFE Study and other current publications:

How can we overcome the political, cultural, social and economic divisions that are preventing us from working together to build our community?

The LIFE Study says we have…

• Declining faith in elected leaders and government processes

• Less trust that most people mean well and will do the right thing

• More doubt about the positive impact of diversity in our community

• Greater polarization among political, economic and age groups

• Good participation in elections

How can we provide the richest possible educational experience giving learners the knowledge, skills and values they will need to achieve personal prosperity and contribute to the community throughout their lives?

The LIFE Study says we have…

• Misalignment between student preparation and the work and social skills required by employers, especially for those not attending college who need paths to technical careers

• Wide variation in the rate of youth participation in school music and art programs

• An effective large-scale local effort to prepare kids for school (Community Partnership for Children) that is at a funding turning-point

• Increasing pressure on school funding

• Youth showing risky behaviors including alcohol, tobacco and drug use resulting in (among other things) high rates of teen pregnancy

• Significantly lower achievement test performance and graduation rates among low income students and a growing number of homeless/unaccompanied young people

• The support of most community leaders for strengthening education and making it a high priority combined with widespread perception that local education systems are of high quality

How can we prevent chronic disease and disability to increase vitality, productivity, prosperity and sheer enjoyment of life here in our community?

The LIFE Study says we have…

• High and increasing rates of psychiatric hospitalization due to mental illness and addictions

• Fewer mothers getting prenatal care in their first trimester

• Fewer fully-immunized 2-year-olds

• Smoking, binge-drinking and obesity rates higher than state and national averages

• High rates of insurance coverage

• Many community health efforts underway including the Community Health Action Plan, new trails and outdoor recreation facilities, Life of An Athlete and Live 54218, farmer’s markets and New Leaf Grocery Cooperative

How can we create more high-wage family-sustaining jobs and prepare, attract and retain the young professionals needed to fill them?

The LIFE Study says we have…

• A mismatch between current workforce skills and the requirements of our emerging economy (technical and social skills, teamwork and problem solving)

• Generally good infrastructure but growing challenges in mass transit, intermodal shipping, air pollution control and protection of surface waters

• Polarization among political leaders which is adversely affecting economic development

• A favorable cost of living and household income above national averages

• A diversified local economy with a strong manufacturing sector featuring growth in high-skill manufacturing jobs, plus rapidly emerging recreation/leisure and arts/culture sectors

How can we help local families to be economically self-sufficient and prepare to meet the growing needs of older and disabled residents?

The LIFE Study says we have…

• More residents receiving public assistance and using shelters, pantries and meal programs

• An increasing proportion of households spending more than 30 percent of income on housing

• Limited access to mental health and addiction treatment for low-income residents and lack of life skills (especially financial literacy) cited by experts as significant barriers to self-sufficiency

• Increasing births to “at-risk” families, growing rates of child abuse and neglect and comparatively high cost of child care

• An aging population concerned about housing, transportation, isolation and long-term care

• Strong collaboration among service providers

• Lower poverty rates than state and national, but growing feelings of income insecurity

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

Retrieving results.
Watching practice is fine.(Your vote)
15%
573 votes
I'd rather watch a scrimmage.(Your vote)
23%
855 votes
I don't want to pay to watch practice.(Your vote)
27%
1013 votes
It doesn't matter to me.(Your vote)
34%
1271 votes

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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