State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
I have frequently heard from employers that they cannot find enough skilled workers to fill positions. The skills gap is a very real concern in Wisconsin and around the country, and the gap is only expected to increase. In the next ten years, approximately 70 percent of jobs will require some training beyond a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree.
However, the problem is not just one for down the road; right now one in ten jobs in Wisconsin cannot be filled. We need to commit to worker training to ensure that our citizens have the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.
In addition to a $100 million investment in workforce development, my proposed budget gives technical colleges flexibility over $22 million for employment training programs. Over time it will also tie 100 percent of state funding to the success rate of student placement in high demand careers. The budget includes a first of its kind flexible degree program allowing adult students to complete online, self-paced, degree programs. I also proposed an expansion to the open enrollment program which would allow students to take a mix of classes from both technical colleges and the University of Wisconsin System.
Recently, I signed “Wisconsin Fast Forward” legislation which had nearly unanimous support in the Legislature. The bill works to address the skills gap by developing a Labor Market Information System to connect workers with current job openings and by investing in worker training grants to get workers the skills they need. Together, these investments will ensure that we are training our workforce so it can expand and continue to compete in the coming years.
The state partnered with the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association to produce and distribute brief radio address once a week. Audio files and a written transcript of this radio address can be accessed on http://www.wi-broadcasters.org and http://walker.wi.gov/Weekly-Radio-Addresses.