Oct 11, 2018

MadREP Joins Inspire Wisconsin Network to Give Local Students, Educators More Opportunities for Career Exploration

Madison, WI – Local public school students will have access to additional career development and mentorship tools starting as early as sixth grade in a platform that directly connects local employers to students, thanks to a new statewide collaboration.

Area school districts have been using a web-based platform called Inspire to connect area businesses to their future talent pool through online profiles, virtual career coaches, and career-based online learning activities for students and educators.

Now, the Madison Region is one of nine regional economic development organizations taking part in a new collaboration that will enable local students, educators and businesses to connect with each other regardless of their location around the state in a secure, web-based environment called “Inspire Wisconsin.”

That means area students and educators will have access to the following resources statewide:

  • More than 1,600 career coaches
  • More than 1,200 company profiles
  • Nearly 5,800 work-based learning activities

The Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) was one of the first regions to implement Inspire and MadREP Vice President of Talent and Education Gene Dalhoff said the collaboration will open up opportunities for students and businesses alike. “MadREP is pleased to have its population of 70,000+ high school and middle school students integrated with potentially thousands of businesses throughout the state through the Inspire platform,” Dalhoff said. “This will allow for significantly more workforce experiences and contacts that will lead to career path development benefiting both students and employers.”

“For the last few years, we have seen the positive impact Inspire has had at the local and regional level in engaging students and educators with area businesses,” said Tricia Braun, deputy secretary and chief operating officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), which is providing funding to expand Inspire statewide. “This collaborative effort among The Madison Region and the rest of the state will build upon that success by providing students with even more resources and real-life experiences as they consider their career options.”

Developed by Xello (formerly known as Career Cruising), Inspire helps educate students, educators, parents, and job-seekers about the current and projected talent needs of local companies. It also provides an opportunity for employers and communities to enhance existing work-based learning and career-readiness programs by making it easier for students to engage in opportunities best aligned with the careers and career pathway areas of interest.

In the Madison Region, Inspire is being utilized to increase engagement between businesses and students in several ways, including interactive messaging with local professionals, job shadowing, interviewing opportunities and internships. All 63 public school districts in the eight county region have access, as well as three technical colleges, one UW system school and one private college. The Region also boasts over 400 participating employers and more than 500 career coaches.

For years, Wisconsin employers have expressed the need for ways to connect more seamlessly with their future workforce. Inspire addresses 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 supports the development of robust career pathways and the Academic and Career Planning (ACP) system that all Wisconsin public school districts implemented in 2017-18. Inspire integrates employer profile information, career-based learning opportunities, and access to volunteer online career coaches directly in the ACP system.

Inspire is available to all Wisconsin public school students in grades 6 to 12 and to some technical colleges. The program is available to every student statewide, but not all districts have yet implemented it.

Employers in the Madison Region can learn about and register for the Inspire deployment at inspiremadisonregion.org/get-involved.

For Further Information:

Jessica R. Reilly