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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:  

King Solomon: 6:30 p.m. May 30, SummerStage, Highway C, one mile south of I-94 in Lapham Peak Park, Delafield. Party in the Park. Features King Solomon and De La Buena reggae and salsa. $6-$13. $13 adults, $11 seniors and students, $6 youth.

Oconomowoc High School Super Showcase: 7 p.m. May 30, Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 East Forest Street, Oconomowoc. Be entertained by some of OHS’s most talented singers, dancers, musicians and actors in comedy sketches and musical performances in this two-hour family show. $15 adults, $10 seniors, $5 students.

Spring Fling Rummage Sale: 8:30 a.m. May 30, Merton Primary School, N68 W28460 Sussex Road, Merton. Huge community rummage sale with more than 30 booths. Includes local businesses, crafters, vendors and organizations with items for sale and information. Concessions from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sale is 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Yellow Brick Road Run/Walk: 6:30 a.m. May 30, Fowler Park, 500 Oakwood Ave., Oconomowoc. Includes a scenic 5K run/walk around Fowler Lake and a kids fun run. Check-in begins at 6:30 a.m. Registration is online only at http://bit.ly/1BvsEg7. (262) 567-2666, www.oconomowoc.org, $35.

 

 

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

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