09/12/2018- It’s a question on the minds of manufacturers locally and across Wisconsin: how to attract and retain a skilled workforce. Jay Risch, Secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Financial institutions met with area technical college and business representatives Tuesday to discuss the issue as part of a Maritime Tour throughout Northeast Wisconsin. One topic covered at length is the need to reform both youth and professional apprenticeship programs. Mark Weber, Dean of Trades and Technologies for N-W-T-C says many of these programs are lengthy and come with strict requirements for both the student and employer, and that has candidates looking for other options.
A secondary factor in the struggle to bring workers into the area is a lack of available housing. Dan Peterson with Stephenson National Bank and Trust says the incentives for housing developers don’t exist locally like they do in other regions of the state.
Risch says the ideas discussed during the round table will be passed along to Governor Walker for consideration as to where state funding would be best allocated in the upcoming budget. Tuesday’s maritime tour also included stops at the Wisconsin Maritime Center of Excellence, Marquis Yachts in Pulaski, and Fox Valley Metal Tech in Green Bay.