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Skills gap contributes to unemployment

Nov. 19, 2012

The biggest step toward self-reliance follows job creation. In 2002, Waukesha County's unemployment rate hovered in the range of 3.3 percent. As of August 2012, that rate sat at 6.3 percent. Just a couple years ago, the county's unemployment rate was as high as 8.7 percent, according to Francisco Sanchez, president of the Workforce Development Board that oversees Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties.

Sanchez said there are a large number of open positions, particularly in manufacturing, that go unfilled because of the growing skills gap facing the state and the nation.

"Some of the people that are unemployed, they don't have the right skill sets to fill the jobs that are open," he said. "So we are training and training and training, but obviously there is a limitation on how many people we are able to train."

The greatest shortages exist in engineering and skilled trades such as machining and tool-and-die makers. The need for nurses and other healthcare professionals is growing as well.

Said Sanchez, "We work with businesses. They help us in identifying the types of skills that they are in need of, so the people that we subsidize to go into training, we pay for the training, those individuals are going to be getting a skill set that businesses are looking for. But we are only one piece of the puzzle. There is also the technical college and the general public."

Ironically, he said, the nation is likely to face a labor shortage in the coming years as baby boomers retire from the workforce.\

by the numbers

In 2002, Waukesha County's unemployment rate hovered in the range of 3.3% . As of August, that rate sat at 6.3% .

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

The Art of the Bicycle: 11 a.m. Nov. 21, 26, Delafield Arts Center, 719 Genesee St., Delafield. Diane Lehman, Peter Kudlata and Wheel & Sprocket. Gallery hours are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. first and third Saturdays and by appointment, Free www.delafieldartscenter.org.

Organ Concert: 1:30 p.m. Nov. 21, St. Jerome Catholic Church, 995 S. Silver Lake St., Oconomowoc. Oconomowoc Music Club is hosting a concert by renowned organist Dr. Simone Gheller. Refreshments will be served after the concert. Free.

Yuletide Faire: 5-9 p.m. Nov. 21; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Nov. 22, Prairie Hill Waldorf School, N14-W29143 Silvernail Road, Pewaukee. $4 in advance or $5 at the door for adults and $1 in advance or $2 at the door for children under 15. Features strolling minstrels and costumed characters, puppet shows, storytelling, candle dipping, face painting, children’s craft workshops, children’s holiday shopping, live music, silent auction, children’s book sale, natural toys, 35 vendors, warm food, homemade desserts, candies, nuts and other treats. 

Fashionable Tidings Gala Luncheon: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 22, Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Holiday fashions of local clothiers Paul Bruce Goodman and Liebling Leather. Music by Brusubardis String Ensemble. Lunch includes shrimp scamp and angel hair pasta with vegetables provencale. Wine tasting  and auction. Benefits Waukesha Choral Union. $35. Call (414) 297-9310 for tickets. www.choralunion.org.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.