Madison, Wis.: Moving Beyond Dialogue and Taking Action to Reach Future Talent
Excerpted from Business Xpansion Journal
By Rachel Duran
A recent survey conducted by the Wood Communications Group in Madison, Wisconsin, found that 85 percent of high school teachers in Wisconsin want a better relationship with the business community. Of course, the business community has been craving that for years.
After working together for years, Madison’s businesses and education system have a few initiatives underway to attract young talent to manufacturing careers. Inspire Madison Region connects students with workplace learning experiences as well as job opportunities. “Inspire wants to onboard 375 companies this year,” says Paul Jadin, CEO, Madison Region Economic Partnership. The companies serve as mentors and coaches so students gain a better understanding of what it takes to become a welder, operate CNC equipment and other positions, among other initiatives.
A recent effort in Madison is the Business and Education Collaborative (BEC). The organization brings together 12 school superintendents, four technical college presidents, the president of the University of Wisconsin system, two workforce development board directors, a private college president and 15 private sector leaders. The goal is create a dialogue between educators and businesses that will be engrained and institutionalized in the region’s overall economy,
“It is all about the relationship between education and business,” Jadin says. “With better dialogue the business community will understand education and their resources better. And the education community will understand the needs of manufacturers. If you go into a high school today and ask about what happens at the plant a mile away, very few teachers will be able to tell you.”
In five years, Madison’s officials want teachers to know exactly what is going on at that plant and know the skills students need to secure a career at that plant.