For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — In an initiative aimed at addressing Wisconsin’s workforce development needs, all nine of the state’s regional economic development organizations are teaming up to develop a platform that directly connects local employers to students. In the Centergy region, which includes the Marshfield area in Wood County, the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MACCI) is leading the effort.
Centergy and MACCI, with support from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, will expand the use of a web-based platform called Inspire that virtually connects area businesses to their future talent pool through online profiles, virtual career coaches, and career-based learning activities for high school students and educators.
“This initiative is a great example of how partners in the public and private sector are teaming up with local schools to help address the workforce development challenges of today and tomorrow,” said Gov. Scott Walker. “Efforts like this will enable businesses to engage directly with students, counselors, and parents and will provide real-life experiences to help guide students as they consider their career options.”
Developed by Career Cruising, Inspire helps educate students, educators, parents, and jobseekers about the current and projected talent needs of local companies. It also provides employers and communities the chance to develop existing work-based learning and career readiness programs by making it easier for students to engage in opportunities best aligned to their career pathway areas of interest.
Depending on the region, Inspire could be used to increase engagement between businesses and students in several ways, including interactive messaging with local professionals, job shadowing, interviewing opportunities, and internships.
The Centergy region and MACCI will develop and manage their own Inspire operating infrastructure and stakeholder collaboration for engaging the region’s employers and businesses. Eventually, the employer databases of the nine regions will be connected together, forming a network that will help students and employers connect locally, regionally, and statewide.
MACCI has already held training sessions and informational meetings to bring awareness of the Inspire program and its benefits.
MACCI Executive Director Scott Larson commented, “Our business’ biggest challenge is to find the appropriate talent to allow for continued growth. … This gives the business community a chance to partner more closely with the education community and make families aware of the plethora of opportunity right here.”