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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: Dec. 17-20, Delafield Arts Center, 719 Genesee St., Delafield. Diane Lehman, Peter Kudlata and Wheel & Sprocket. Gallery Hours: Wednesday through Friday: 11am-4pm; first and third Saturdays of each month: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and by appointment. Free. http://www.delafieldartscenter.org/.

Country Christmas Outdoor Drive-through Lights Display: 5-9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays, 5-10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and holidays through Dec. 31. Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Wisconsin’s largest drive-through holiday lights event features more than a million holiday lights along a mile-long trail that winds through the woods, Includes animated figures and holiday scenes. Call (262) 970-5398 for details., $15-$25. $15 per carload, $25 limo, mini-coach or large van http://www.thecountrychristmas.com.

Nutcracker Ballet: 7 p.m. Dec. 19; 1 p.m., 7 p.m. Dec. 20; 2 p.m. Dec. 21, Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 East Forest Street, Oconomwoc. Mainstage Academy of Dance performs this beloved Tchaikovsky ballet, a holiday classic the whole family will enjoy. Visit www.theoac.net for more information or tickets. $14-$16 http://www.wedancemainstage.com 

Tom Heideman’s Swamp Party: 9:30 p.m. Dec. 20, Delafield Brewhaus, 3832 Hillside Drive, Delafield. For more information call (262) 646-7821.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.