Spring Newsletter

Welcome to the spring 2017 Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin (WDBSCW) newsletter! We want to give you an inside look at some of the projects we've been focused on and share some of our program accomplishments. 

From upcoming special events to a  recent Washington D.C. trip, the WDBSCW is busy!  Be sure to watch the   WKOW  video featuring the recent Windows to Work graduation.  And take a moment to read an update on how we're helping workers affected by the  Oscar Mayer plant closing . We also met with Rufus, a graduate of the Welding and Fabrication Academy, and want to share his story. We've got so much more in store - so stay tuned for future updates.

Thank you for your partnership and support in building a stronger talent pipeline, right here in South Central Wisconsin.

Pat Schramm, WDBSCW CEO
Mark Your Calendars:
Economic Development and Diversity Summit

The Madison Region Economic Partnership and the Urban League of Greater Madison are hosting the fourth annual joint Summit for Madison business and community leaders. The event is focused on diversity and will engage, educate, and empower attendees around economic, workforce, and community development issues.
Thursday, May 11, 2017 / 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Monona Terrace / Madison

Middle College Graduation 

Please join us to celebrate our Middle College culinary, healthcare, and manufacturing students at their graduation ceremony!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 / 6:00  - 8:00 p.m.
Mitby Theater / Madison College - Truax Campus

In the Works Breakfast Forum
Help us recognize companies that are investing workforce development programs and services we offer to youth in South Central Wisconsin. 
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 / 8:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Street Room D1630 / Madison College - Truax Campus

Board Meeting
Thursday, May 25, 2017 / 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
United Way of Dane County / Madison
What's Happening in the News
GrantAward Academy offers quick way to gain computer skills
In April, eight individuals graduated from the Computer Essentials Academy at Madison College's Watertown campus. 

The Academy teaches underemployed and unemployed participants the basics of a computer, including how to create documents, manage files, and use the Internet. These skills can help Academy students find and excel in jobs. 

Watch WKOW's short video of the Windows to Work graduation.
Watch WKOW's short video of the Windows to Work graduation.
Windows2WorkWindows to Work graduation
Twenty-two inmates at the Dane County Jail celebrated their graduation from the Windows to Work  program on Wednesday, April 5. This 7-week course is designed to increase the chances of success and employment after release from jail. Since the program's launch in 2015, more than 90 inmates have engaged in the program's cognitive behavioral and career readiness training offerings pre-release. 

Kraft Rapid Response: Help Comes to Workers at Oscar Mayer 
Part of our workforce development role is to help workers affected by company downsizings or closings. And with the Oscar Mayer production facility and its Kraft-Heinz office closing in Madison, more than 1,000 workers may need our help.

The production facility and office were originally scheduled to close down all production by the end of March, but the date was pushed back to July. As of April 14, almost half of the production workers are still working.

We're working closely with Oscar Mayer, it's parent company Kraft, and our workforce partners to offer informational sessions to the affected workers. During these, we provide information on employment, training, and community services that are available to help.

Half of the workers have already sought our help by attending a Rapid Response session. We've been running workshop series since January and hosting recruiting events with companies. We've also received an overwhelming response from the business community. Many companies have reached out to us with employment opportunities for the affected workers.

Worth the Read
Oscar Mayer plant now set for July 31 shutdown / Wisconsin State Journal / April 3, 2017
Dane County Regional Job Fair a Success
In late March, almost 1,500 job seekers gathered at the Alliant Energy Center for the annual Dane County Regional Job Fair. Attendees visited with over 140 employers, who helped review resumes and practice for interviews. The job seekers explored positions available in healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, and social services.

The fair, hosted by the Wisconsin Job Service and partners, helped many of the attendees get one step closer to a future career. Over 30% of attendees left the event with an interview. 
TheHill Hitting the Hill for the NAWB Annual Conference
Last month, over 1,400 workforce board members and staff attended The Forum 2017, the annual conference of the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB).

Left to right: Senator Tammy Baldwin, Mari Kay-Nabozny, Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board, Pat Shram, and Seth Lentz joined The Forum.
The WDBSCW's CEO, Pat Schram, Deputy Director, Seth Lentz, Board Director, Pam Christensen of Madison Gas & Electric, and Board Secretary, Laura Cataldo, of Maxim Consulting, joined the gathering in D.C.

The Forum is the premier event for workforce development professionals. They met with business, government, and education leaders to gain insights into the current state of the workforce system and to generate ideas of how to respond to the challenges in workforce development.  

Where Are They Now?
WhereAreRufus Shares Success Story to Encourage Others
Rufus knew he needed more education if he wanted a higher paying job. So he went to the Dane County Job Center where he enrolled in the WIOA Adult Program through the WorkSmart Network to access career and training options available to him.

While working with his WIOA Career Services Specialist, Rufus learned of a new short-term training offered in partnership with Madison College. the 14-week Welding and Fabrication Academy was designed to help individuals like Rufus skill up quickly to advance in their industry with career readiness and technical skills.

For Rufus, it meant stepping onto a college campus for the first time.

"The first [class] was a little intimidating since I haven't done it in a long time [like] dealing with college instructors. I relaxed and settled in and took in what they were teaching me. And other students were supportive and helped me," explained Rufus. "I had good, patient instructors. If they had to sit next to you and instruct the class from there to help you, they would."

Two weeks after graduation, Rufus interviewed with Amcor Flexibles of Madison. "Once I told them I went through this, they were really happy about that. They really emphasized that they like to hire people who went to Madison College."

Amcor hired Rufus as a Flexo Press Operator to run the press machines that print flexible medical packaging like band-aids and gauze packaging. The permanent position is full-time and offers a great benefit package for Rufus to help support his family. And Rufus recently completed his 90-days of  on-the-job training , which offers workers more experience and businesses an affordable way to train new employees. 

Rufus believes he got this job thanks to the Academy. He hopes his success story can encourage others to attend Academies and get an education. And he especially wants to encourage his children to get an education. "Go to school. Go early. Don't go late like me," he tells them.

"This [WIOA] program will help you. They'll help you get a job and get on your feet. But it'll take some time. WorkSmart is the easiest way. Apply yourself and they'll push you through."
Thanks for reading! 

Stay tuned for future updates on our work across the region. In the meantime, be sure visit our website for announcements, events, and news. You can also follow us on Facebook for more updates. And, we're now on Instagram! Follow us for pictures and updates. 

Our mission is to build public and private partnerships that support innovation and excellence in workforce development. 
P.S. We're social. Come join us.