Concern over a growing unskilled labor pool in comparison to job demands in central Wisconsin—and recognition that K-16 educational institutions were not prepared to teach the skills needed to match anticipated job needs—a group of nonprofit, business, education and government leaders turned to WIPPS Research Partners to meet the following objectives:
- Research key trends, challenges , and opportunities for job growth in central Wisconsin over the next 10-20 years
- Create a priority list of guidelines for key constituencies to better prepare students/workers for future jobs
- Organize a working group of constituencies aligned to support and develop the regional labor market.
WIPPS carried out research on benchmark data, conducted key informant interviews to supplement findings, and delivered a comprehensive presentation outlining the challenges and opportunities facing north central Wisconsin in terms of aligning the skills being taught with projected needs in 2025. WIPPS facilitated stakeholder meetings in spring 2015 which developed guidelines and created priorities for the establishment of an ongoing coalition, the Regional Talent Innovation Network (RETAIN). The group later changed its name to the Central Wisconsin Information Technology Alliance (CWITA) and remains active today. CWITA’s website labels it as “a voluntary organization of employers focused on information technology workforce challenges and solutions, with support from the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, UW-Stevens Point, Northcentral, Mid-State and Nicolet Technical Colleges, chambers of commerce, K-12 educational institutions, economic development entities, and other associated partners.”