Gov. Scott Walker
Op Ed

Investing in Our Workforce

My Wisconsin Works for Everyone welfare reform package offers hands-on skills and job training.

By - Jun 15th, 2017 06:01 pm
Donald Trump. Photo from

Donald Trump. Photo from

Workforce is our number one issue here in Wisconsin. That’s what I told President Donald J. Trump during a meeting at the White House with Governors from across the nation.

Specifically, I asked the President to focus on workforce development and highlight the many different careers that require something other than an undergraduate degree. This is not a Republican or Democrat platform – it goes far beyond that. It’s simply common sense that the future success of our nation depends upon our ability to provide the next generation of workers with the practical skills and knowledge they need to thrive in our workforce.

President Trump took this message to heart and visited Wisconsin earlier this week to kick off his “Workforce Week” with a stop at Waukesha County Technical College. We’re thrilled the President chose to kick-off his Workforce Week here in Wisconsin, and believe our state can serve as a national model when it comes to workforce development programs.

You see, workforce development has always been a top priority for me. When I was running for office in 2010, the unemployment rate in Wisconsin peaked at 9.4 percent. Now, at 3.1 percent, the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been since 1999. Most importantly, more people are employed in our state than ever before.

On top of all of that, Wisconsin now ranks as a Top 10 state for labor participation and for business. We went from the bottom ten in 2010 to a Top 10 state for business in 2017 according to Chief Executive Magazine.

Our state is back on track, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. Our focus now has shifted from jobs, jobs, jobs, to workforce, workforce, workforce.

Thanks to our common-sense, conservative reforms, our state has had a state budget surplus every year, which we’re calling the Reform Dividend. And we’re using this Reform Dividend to invest in programs and education that help us produce the highly-skilled, dependable workforce Wisconsin is known for.

Our state budget proposal invests more actual dollars into K-12 education than ever before and includes funding for workforce development programs like career exploration courses, the Early College Credit Program, Youth Apprenticeship programs, Fabrication Laboratories, or Fab Labs, and Project SEARCH. These programs are crucial tools that provide our students with the education they need as they prepare for higher education, career, and life.

Once our students complete high school, we make it even easier and more affordable to pursue a degree at a technical college, trade school, or university as well. We froze tuition at all University of Wisconsin campuses for four years and will do so again for the next two years in our budget. We are also fighting to freeze technical college tuition and increase financial support for students so we can develop the workforce Wisconsin needs for high-demand industries like manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, and information technology.

Our Wisconsin Works for Everyone welfare reform package offers hands-on skills and job training as well as education courses to adults dependent on public assistance. This connects them to jobs and family-supporting careers, thus moving them from government dependence to true independence and renewing the dignity that comes from work.

The bottom line is this: we want to help Wisconsin, and its workers, become some of the most cutting-edge and prosperous in the nation. We’re working and winning for Wisconsin, bridging the skills gap, and empowering our students and workers.

We’re confident our workforce development programs are working to build a strong future for Wisconsin. President Trump is working to develop similar programs that invest in the nation’s workforce. We’re proud he chose Wisconsin as an example of a strong workforce to highlight the importance of workforce development, and we look forward to working with him on this issue in the future.

We will continue to work together to build America’s future by investing in innovative and forward-thinking workforce development programs that prepare our workers for 21st-century jobs and a family-supporting career.

Scott Walker is the governor of the State of Wisconsin.

Categories: Business, Op-Ed, Politics

10 thoughts on “Op Ed: Investing in Our Workforce”

  1. Joanne Brown says:

    A workforce development program matters little when workers are not valued by the state, or by Scott Walker, the Republican legislature, and their funding enablers from WMC, the Bradley Foundation, MMAC, etc. If workers aren’t valued, and the state is not interested in creating an inviting environment for individuals and their families through support of public education, public institutions, public infrastructure, and natural resources, why would anyone stay or come here to be trained?

    How do I know workers aren’t valued? A minimum wage of $7.25 and a refusal to increase it. A right to work for less law. Cuts, and more cuts, and then more cuts, to state worker benefits. Fewer mechanisms for employees to participate in their workplace, even in dangerous workplaces like prisons. Restrictions on union formation. And on and on.

    So don’t brag about training the workforce. Labor must be valued. Wisconsin will not have a strong future for *everyone* unless the powers that be are trained to value labor, not just the products of labor.

  2. WashCoRepub says:

    Paragraphs 4 and 5 tell the story. The fact that we have made such tremendous progress without completely blowing out the budget on out-of-control spending, is nothing short of amazing. This is a fantastic state to live in, and I look forward to the bright future ahead of us!

  3. AG says:

    Joanne Brown, why does your perception on “being valued” matter? We are told time and time again that people want to work, they just need an opportunity. Workforce development is the opportunity, if people want to become a productive member of society, improve their station in life, make a living wage w/ good benefits, or find a new career… here is their chance.

  4. Vincent Hanna says:

    Clearly she isn’t saying it’s about perception. I interpret her comments as saying that it’s all well and good for politicians to pay lip service to valuing workers but actions speak louder and policies don’t always align with the feel-good rhetoric. I am reading Janesville: An American Story right now (it’s outstanding) and one of the things the author discusses is how one of the only things Obama and Paul Ryan agreed on circa 2009 is investing in job training programs but those programs produced negligible results. Some people need to read more and do more research. Their comments tend to stick to conservative talking points about “hard work” and being “productive” but talk like that is pretty hollow.

  5. Vincent Hanna says:

    So Walker can talk all he wants about “investing in our workforce,” but what leads to job growth and strong economies? It’s not right-to-work laws or dismantling unions or drug testing welfare recipients, things Walker vociferously supports. So his talk doesn’t align with his policies.

  6. AG says:

    Job growth has a lot of factors, some of them are making it easier and affordable to do business. So right-to-work laws and giving people the freedom to choose whether or not to be in unions, and heck even making sure people are drug free so they are ready to pass a drug test for a job, are all beneficial for job growth.

    But it is also fair to ask what is being done for workers. In that regard, making sure college is as affordable as possible, creating and expanding worker training programs, technical and trade skill programs, ensuring potential workers are ready for a job (for example, drug free?), and others would fit into that category. Some of those are even in the op ed above.

    Ultimately, it’s on businesses to create jobs.. New or old, big or small… jobs mainly come from the private sector. Those items listed above, plus other facets such as encouraging investment funding and encouraging startups will all play into job growth.

  7. data says:

    Why do you idiots at Urban Milwaukee give this POS a platform to preach his fake news and distorted data???!

    Scott Walker is anti american, anti people, anti growth. He is a sinner who worships money for himself.

  8. Jeramey Jannene says:

    @Data – Clearly we do it, because as you said, we’re “idiots.”

    We trust you’ll find at least one op-ed you like among the hundreds we’ve published.

  9. Mary Kay Wagner says:

    Thank you Urban Milwaukee for publishing Walker’s diatribes, not that I agree with him. It does mean that at least once in awhile he is checking in with this site. So as I have an opportunity to hear what he has to say; possibly he is exposed to what the other side has to say. So Gov. Walker let me just say since you obviously missed your Economics lecture in college at Marquette, job training without jobs; job training for jobs that are being shipped out of Wisconsin does not improve the lives of Wisconsin workers. In particular, workers in major metropolitan areas like Milwaukee. As much as out state may dislike Milwaukee, as Milwaukee goes so goes the state of Wisconsin. It is the economic engine of the state. So when the you cancel a contract that eliminates 14,000 jobs in inner city Milwaukee, the repercussions are felt across the state whether you believe it or not. When you stick it to Milwaukee and Madison and the other urban areas, because the voters didn’t support you, you hurt everyone in the state. We are in this together. You might want to take a look at what is happening in Kansas. They are learning the hard way that ideology does not equal good government. You can taut faux statistics all you like, but it does change the fact that every state in the Great Lakes region is doing better than Wisconsin.

  10. Robert Mohr says:

    Chief Executive Magazine is an awful publication with which to align – that is a magazine for and by CEOs.

    Walker and his kleptocrats need to understand that a well running economy isn’t just one that lines the pockets of his supporters while leveraging the lowest paid workforce in the midwest.

    The problem with people like Walker is that they see only supply-side as a means for economic support. Walker, here, talks of freezing tuition, but he doesn’t mention the numerous cuts the UW system that his administration has made – making the UW system less attractive to faculty and limiting research opportunities.

    Bottom line: Wisconsin has been in a brain drain for the last 10 years – because good opportunities aren’t here. We’ve been dead last in startups for 5 consecutive years.

    What I do see is a lot of “common sense” comments above by Walker,deceptive statistics and praise of Donald Trump. Sorry, I’m done listening.

    And to Urban Milwaukee – I don’t think Walker deserves a platform. Anyone who admitted to considering putting hooligans amongst protesters deserves to be in prison – not given a platform to spout lies and promotion of a prickish con-man.

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