Inspire Workforce Development Initiative Creates Regional Connections
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 25, 2017
MADISON, WI – Career development and exploration activities for students in twelve counties across Southern Wisconsin recently received a significant boost, as Inspire Madison Region and Inspire Rock County have integrated their databases to enhance collaborative talent development and employment engagement activities throughout the greater region.
The Inspire initiatives leverage career development software by Career Cruising that is available in all public school with grades 6-12 and technical colleges in the region. Career Cruising allows students to learn more about specific occupations, while the Inspire add-on to the program connects students to career coaches and local businesses providing experiential learning activities such as job shadows, internships, and youth apprenticeships. Employers, educators, students, parents, and workforce professionals all have access to this combined database and networking system designed to improve the future workforce in the broader region.
With the integration of the Inspire Madison Region and Inspire Rock County databases, students will now have the opportunity to engage with employers in the following South Central and South West Wisconsin counties: Columbia, Crawford, Dane, Dodge, Grant, Green, Iowa, Juneau, Lafayette, Richland, Rock and Sauk. While both Inspire Madison Region and Inspire Rock County (managed by the Madison Region Economic Partnership and Rock 5.0, respectively) will maintain their regional identities, both will benefit from a significant increase in the number of employers, career coaches, and experiential learning activities as the databases come together. With integration, users now have access to:
• 539 Career Coaches
• 477 Company Profiles
• 2,419 Work-Based Learning Activities
For years, employers from Rock County and the Madison Region have expressed the need for ways to connect with their future workforce. Both Inspire initiatives address that need by aligning career exploration and occupational information with real-time data on local employers, their needs, and the opportunities they offer young people to get experience in their industries. At the same time, Inspire also supports the development of robust career pathways and academic and career planning (ACP) that all public school districts in Wisconsin are implementing in the 2017-18 school year.
Going forward in the Madison Region, the Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) will work closely with school districts and businesses to develop best-practices around experiential learning activities, and will continue to streamline workflow processes. To address the needs of at-risk populations, MadREP is developing partnerships with community organizations to bring Inspire to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds through mentoring and other career-readiness activities outside of schools.
Since its inception in 2015, Inspire Madison Region has grown to nearly 55,000 active student portfolios, 23,406 of which have at least one saved career and 7,648 portfolios with at least one saved higher-education target. In addition, online career coaches have answered more than 500 questions from students from public schools and the technical college system. With the merger, the joint-initiatives will cover 67 school districts (with the potential for more in South West Wisconsin), four technical colleges, one UW-System College and Beloit College). In addition, MadREP is currently working with its sister economic development regions throughout the state and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) to promote and integrate Inspire statewide.