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Mar 19, 201910:53 AMInside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Building stronger tech workforce is issue nationally and Wisconsin

(page 2 of 2)

The talent shortage is why federal and state policymakers seem intent on closing the gap. In Congress, a bipartisan bill that shows promise for states such as Wisconsin is the CHANCE in Tech Act. That’s an acronym for Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology.

The bill is a recognition that tech apprenticeships in the United States are largely a patchwork of programs that don’t always result in certificates that are “portable” from one workplace to another. It would instruct the U.S. Department of Labor to award contracts to industry intermediaries to develop apprenticeships in tech; define how those intermediaries — such as colleges of all types — would work with business; and make apprenticeships available to high school students, early college science and tech students, and post-secondary students.

It recognizes that IT professions don’t require a four-year college degree and jobs can be filled with a skilled workforce that has other certified training.

In Wisconsin, several bills have been introduced to encourage more internships and to support “upskilling” of people quickly through what is described as “micro-credentials” in hard-to-fill fields.

Whether it is Congress or the Wisconsin Legislature, there can be partisan hurdles to finding solutions. With worker shortages looming in so many critical tech fields, let’s hope those differences give way to action.

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About This Blog

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.

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