The Midwest is taking the lead in a unique partnership of a dozen workforce development boards working in tandem to drive economic growth in the region. In July, workforce leaders from 12 Midwest cities convened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to sign an agreement creating the Midwest Urban Strategies Consortium, the first partnership of its kind in the country.
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Entries by Kerri Phillips
In the third installment of the D&I Virtual Roundtable Summer Series, “Tapping into the Power of Difference,” Angela Russell, who is Director of Diversity & Inclusion at CUNA Mutual Group in Madison, Wisconsin, shared the best practices she uses and lessons she has learned from her experiences.
Facing many of the same workforce challenges being seen in the transportation industry, one large healthcare organization has built a successful model for growing its talent pool. Based on the fundamentals of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the program at UW Health, in southcentral Wisconsin, is growing the skilled workforce they need through an innovative use of community partnerships and home-grown internship and training programs.
Working simultaneously with unions, contractors, women, and students, the National Center for Women’s Equity in Apprenticeship and Employment is helping the construction industry grow the skilled workforce it needs by incorporating and retaining more women. One way the center is doing this is by bringing registered apprenticeship to bear as a proven strategy to grow and retain talent.
Combine the career readiness that apprenticeship provides with the astoundingly high retention rates of 87-93% of employees who complete apprenticeship programs, and it is clear why more companies are turning to groups like TransPORTs and FASTPORTS, for assistance in getting new programs up and running for an increasing number of occupations.
An opportunity to discuss strategies for tackling common challenges brought forty diversity and inclusion professionals together for the Midwest Transportation Workforce Center’s first D&I Virtual Roundtable discussion on June 8.
Over the past decade, the nation’s K-12 educational systems have worked hard to deliver students to four-year degree programs at universities. This focus has greatly reduced the number of shop and hands-on technical classes, resulting in dwindling opportunities to expose students to the sorts of careers that drive the transportation industry today. The Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence is determined to reverse this trend by providing young people with in-person, hands-on experiences, while demonstrating the value to parents, school administrators, industry representatives, and others.
This summer, the Midwest Transportation Workforce Center (MTWC) is hosting a series of conversations focused on diversity and inclusion practices. Most businesses understand that diversity creates value in the workplace, builds stronger, more innovative teams, and will be critical to addressing future workforce shortfalls. However, implementation often falls to the wayside as the day-to-day objectives of running a business take priority.
Last month, the MTWC Highway Maintenance Engineering Career Pathways Initiative was kicked off as part of the umbrella effort, the National Transportation Career Pathways Initiative.
The Midwest Transportation Workforce Center has embarked on a two-year endeavor to create pathways for the skilled careers needed in the Highway Maintenance Engineering discipline.