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Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch launches Real Jobs tour

Feb. 20, 2013

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch is stepping down from her position in Madison. Well, for a day at a time anyway.

Kleefisch has begun a new initiative, Real Jobs with Rebecca, that will take her out of her office and into an open job found on jobcenterofwisconsin.com.

"We went out and found jobs that are actually posted that I may or may not be super qualified for," Kleefisch joked. "I will go and do that job for a day."

The goal of the tour is to highlight the number of open jobs in Wisconsin that are posted on the job search website owned by the state. Kleefisch said that there are from 25,000 to 45,000 jobs posted on the website on any given day.

"We're trying to show that people can make these jobs a career if they commit to obtaining the training and skills necessary to take the career - and I do mean a career," Kleefisch said.

With nearly 200,000 people unemployed in the state, Kleefisch said this initiative is meant to bring awareness to the resources the work force development center can provide.

"The difference between unemployed people and open jobs is a tremendous skills gap," Kleefisch explained. "We would like to highlight our investment in workforce development and that we have a totally free website for employees looking for a great career and employers looking to find great employees."

That investment, according to Kleefisch, is nearly $100 million to ensure that Wisconsin has well-trained and a "globally competitive" workforce. Kleefisch cited the exodus of the baby boomer generation to the decline of workers in particular fields such as manufacturing.

"We have tremendous pride in our work in Wisconsin, which is probably why Wisconsin has more manufacturing per capita than any other state," Kleefisch said. "Wisconsin is great because of its people."

Kleefisch's first position was last week at Gulfstream in Greenville, near Appleton. The luxury jet manufacturer put her to work. The company, which plans to hire 100 employees in 2013, had her unpacking and cataloging shipments, doing some wire assembly, upholstering and other daily tasks.

"I think of Brett (at Gulfstream) telling me about his four children, one who is a vet or Christine's patience while I was learning on the computer and about engineering a mirror," Kleefisch recalled. "The people training me always took great pride in their jobs and what they were manufacturing."

Kleefisch spent this Tuesday at Signicast, a casting and molding company in Hartford. Kleefisch said that while those are the only plans made in the tour as of right now, she hopes that the program continues.

"We haven't determined if this will be a weekly thing or a monthly thing, but I hope it continues for some time," Kleefisch said. "We cannot fix the unemployment or skills gap in a week or a month, so we hope to continue to highlight the open jobs."

Kleefisch's tour to promote the jobcenterofwisconsin.com website and the investment the state is making in reducing the unemployment rate has just started, so it's hard to know what companies she will visit in the future.

However, Oconomowoc native Kleefisch is not ruling out a visit to Waukesha.

"I'm open to going anywhere," Kleefisch said, laughing. "All you have to do is post the open job on the jobcenterofwisconsin.com website, and that company may be selected. I can only come for a day, but I'm very invested."

Those who are out of work or looking for a new career can visit jobcenterofwisconsin.com and register to search Wisconsin jobs free of charge. Kleefisch simply stated "If I can do these jobs, you can do these jobs."

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