WEDC event celebrates innovative workforce solutions
APPLETON, WI. OCT. 23, 2023 – More than 400 community and business leaders, government officials and educators are gathering for the Wisconsin Economic Summit in Appleton Monday and Tuesday to celebrate the successful public-private partnerships and innovative workforce solutions that are driving our state’s economy forward.
The second annual summit, hosted by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), focuses on partnerships between the state, local governments, businesses and nonprofits that are addressing worker training, transportation, housing, child care and clean energy investments to build an economy for all.
“Economic development demands creativity, innovation, and a comprehensive vision that is always looking ahead,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO. “Economic development is about people and creating the kinds of environments where everyone has a chance to thrive. Over the next few days, we’ll see how many of the key players in Wisconsin’s economy are working together to ensure access to education and worker training, quality health care and child care, transportation, affordable housing and so much more. Thanks to these partnerships, our state is creating new opportunities every day for people to succeed.”
The summit will focus on some of the successful partnerships that have been established through the Workforce Innovation Grant program. The grant program, created by Gov. Evers in 2021, is providing a total of $128 million to 27 regional projects that meet their communities’ most pressing workforce needs — from worker training to child care.
The Department of Workforce Development estimates that about 11,000 people were positively impacted by these projects as of June.
In the Milwaukee area, MobiliSE is providing about 3,000 rides to and from work each month allowing those without transportation access to higher-paying jobs and supporting businesses’ workforce needs. In the Racine area, more than 300 people have earned their high school credentials allowing them to embark on new career paths. In Monroe, the Green County Family YMCA is preparing to break ground on an expansion that will open up 80 child care spots.
New to the summit this year is the Great Career Try-Out, an opportunity for visitors to try advanced simulation technologies being used to train the next generation of Wisconsin workers. The equipment is being supplied by recipients of the Workforce Innovation Grant, a program administered by WEDC and the state Department of Workforce Development.
At the event, participants will have a chance to care for a practice hospital patient during a high-fidelity patient simulation for nursing skills training from WisCAP (Wisconsin Community Action Program Association) with Bryant & Stratton College.
UW-Stevens Point’s Wisconsin Forestry Center will virtually transport participants to the Northwoods where they can try to harvest trees using a high-tech simulator.
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is bringing portable robotic and industrial mechanical trainers and virtual reality training will be provided by Mid-State Technical College and the Boys & Girls Club of Portage County.
Participants will also have a chance to try their welding skills inside a Chippewa Valley Technical College mobile welding lab.
Kristina Costa, Deputy Assistant to President Joe Biden and White House Deputy for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation, will headline the summit’s focus on “Innovative Sustainability and Energy Solutions.” Costa will outline federal efforts to help businesses and communities seize opportunities associated with the growing clean energy economy.
Jeff Yabuki, chairman of Motive Partners and former CEO of Fiserv Inc. will serve as the summit’s keynote speaker. Other speakers include Amy Pechacek, secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and Chris Baichoo, executive director/CEO of WMEP Manufacturing Solutions.
For more information on the summit or the Great Career Try-Out, go to: https://wedc.org/wisconsin-economic-summit/. Portions of the Wisconsin Economic Summit will also be livestreamed on WisconsinEye, www.wiseye.org.