WRTP/BIG STEP is known around the region and the state for its work in helping people find family-supporting jobs – and careers – in the construction and manufacturing fields. This work is important, especially as the state continues efforts to retain and attract jobs.
With all these good efforts, sometimes WRTP/BIG STEP’s work with employers is overshadowed. But it is no less important. Providing services to employers that help them stay competitive and thrive allows them to grow, which means more jobs.
The employer connection is something that is unique to WRTP/BIG STEP.
Using a needs assessment of the manufacturing climate in Wisconsin conducted by WRTP/BIG STEP staff – the most recent completed in 2010 – industry coordinators are able to connect interested manufacturers to the programs and resources that will enable them to effectively implement changes in areas such as modernization, energy efficiency, and current and future workforce needs.
Those efforts are making an impact.
In its inaugural post, “What’s Working” highlighted WRTP/BIG STEP’s efforts, in collaboration with Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington Workforce Development Inc. and Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC), to get needed training to more than 300 incumbent workers at seven area manufacturers.
“We act as a convener of these manufacturers in an initiative like this,” says Joe Nicosia, industry coordinator at WRTP/BIG STEP. “We already have relationships with these employers and the labor representatives, so when we find resources that can help them become more competitive and can benefit their employees, there is trust already built in. They know we can help them and that we’ll get the job done.”
The seven manufacturers – all union represented – have identified needed training in technical skills, such as CNC machining and maintenance, and industry essential skills, such as team building, train the trainer, and problem solving. The Department of Workforce Development is providing funding for the training, which will take place throughout the 2011, though its Industry Partnership initiative for the M-7 region in Southeastern Wisconsin.
In addition to playing the role of convener of the employers, WRTP/BIG STEP will be providing the training for the industry essential skills, while partner WCTC will provide training for the technical skills.
By receiving training, some incumbent workers will have the opportunity to advance in their careers, possibly opening up jobs for new employees.
“What’s Working” will bring updates and success stories as the training unfolds throughout the year. As always, stay tuned.