System News Releases

Forbes Ranks Wisconsin Top-tier in Job-ready Education

July 21, 2015 | Conor Smyth

MADISON- The growth of US manufacturing is colliding with a lack of skilled workers.  A recent Forbes article by Nicholas Wyman, What Is The One Thing That Can Strengthen America's Economic Armor? explores the "skills gap" and potential remedies, listing Wisconsin among the top states preparing students for America's half-million and rising unfilled manufacturing jobs.  

According to Forbes, technical education--a key to strengthening our economy--has long been neglected nationally. Citing data from the Manufacturing Institute, the article points to an expected skills gap of 2 million by 2025 if action is not taken. Fortunately, argues Wyman, change is coming from the states. He reports that,"South Carolina, Kansas, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin have been among the best in matching the needs of employers with educational programs offered by their high schools, and community and technical colleges." 

"There's an increasing awareness by educators and policymakers of the significant workforce challenges facing manufacturers," said Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) President Morna Foy. "Technology is transforming the industry and creating growth potential. Our technical colleges have responded by partnering with manufacturers and becoming catalysts for economic development in Wisconsin."

Major WTCS initiatives in support of manufacturers include developing dynamic career awareness and exploration opportunities for K-12 students, creating customized training for employers, delivering courses for high school students that lead to no-cost college credits, and offering industry-based certifications that can be earned before high school graduation.

These initiatives are working. The evidence? A 92 percent job placement rate for Wisconsin's technical college graduates, successful outcomes for WTCS business partners, and now a top-tier ranking by Forbes.