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The challenge is most acute in the manufacturing sector, which represents a significant and growing number of jobs. The region has the second highest percentage of its population employed in manufacturing in the country. More than 100,000 people work in production positions and in the next decade, one-third of those positions are expected to turn over. Through innovation and commitment, we can become a region of choice for talent and business. But it requires everyone – employers, educators and workforce agencies – to work as partners toward a common goal.

Employers have opportunities to grow and improve their workforce all along the continuum of development – from helping build career awareness in middle and high school to enriching employees’ skills to retaining top talent.

What is Career-Based learning?

Relevant experiences in real-world contexts that help students connect learning and work by:

  • Exploring possible careers
  • Earning industry certifications
  • Understanding the expectations of the workplace
  • Establishing professional contacts for future employment, mentoring, and networking

Career-based learning helps employers by:

  • Providing access to a pool of skilled and motivated potential employees with the ability to adapt to an ever-changing, global job market
  • Establishing meaningful relationships with young people that reduces perceived risks about engaging interns, apprentices, or structuring co-ops
  • Reducing recruiting/training costs for new employees
  • Generating positive publicity about careers in demand in the M7 region
  • Enhancing a company’s capacity to manage a diverse workforce

The menu of career-based learning experiences can be imagined on a continuum beginning with Career Awareness/Exploration, progressing to Career Preparation and Pre-Employment, and continuing through the hiring process to include employee onboarding, upskilling, and retention activities.

M7 Talent Partnership is launching a Career-Based learning campaign this fall to grow the number and quality of career-based learning experiences available to students in the M7 region.

What does it mean to be Work-Ready?

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)  supported the Milwaukee 7 Talent Partnership to summarize the current reality about teaching and learning the essential, ready-to-work skills. The intention of this inquiry was to shed some light on a big challenge for Milwaukee 7 region manufacturers:

While individual education and training programs have developed many good work readiness and outcome standards, there is no standard definition that is accepted across these many programs to certify that an individual has the basic employability skills sought by M7 employers.  

For more information, read Milwaukee 7’s summary, Certificate of Employability: Finding Common Ground for Foundational, Work-Ready Skills.