We recently learned that Wisconsin had the 42nd worst job creation record in the nation last year. Unemployment and underemployment remain unacceptably high.
At the same time, area employers are facing a skilled labor shortage. They simply cannot find the middle skilled workers they need to grow their businesses.
According to New York Times columnist Joe Nocera investing in two year colleges like MATC is the solution.
He writes: "Community colleges can be our salvation...and approvingly quotes Eduardo Padrón, the President of Miami Dade, the nation's largest two year college, “'Community colleges are the great American invention in terms of education. Their raison d’être has always been to help grease the wheels of social mobility...with the skills gap such a pressing problem — and a high school education so clearly inadequate for the modern economy — the task of teaching those skills is falling to community colleges. There really isn’t another institution as well positioned to play that role.'"
Unfortunately Nocera says: "Many state governments have ravaged the budgets of their community college systems..." Wisconsin, for example, slashed technical college funding by 30% in its last biennial budget. the largest cut in the Wisconsin Technical College Systems' history.
Nocera concludes: "Given what’s at stake, it would be hard to imagine anything more shortsighted than paring back support for community colleges."
His entire column is linked here.