By: Reginald Reed, CEO, Mindful Staffing
This article originally appeared in the Waukesha County Business Alliance’s October 2018 Accelerate Waukesha County magazine.
Everyone seems to be struggling to find good employees for long-term corporate and economic growth, and with projects like Foxconn already underway, it’s only going to get worse. Foxconn has single-handedly brought about the largest construction project in the history of the state of Wisconsin, requiring more than 10,000 construction workers to build and additional thousands of employees to run the operation once it is complete.
With unemployment at record lows, many are asking: “Where will we get the people?” One answer to this question is that the people are already here—we just have a lack of integration.
While we may represent different counties, cities and organizations, all with their own efforts and goals, it’s imperative that we remember that we all play for Team Wisconsin. As a result, we must understand that the only way we can achieve a task this large is through complete and total integration. This requires schools, chambers of commerce, social service organizations and economic groups to all work in sync with each other, aligning programs and strategies to create a giant seamless network focused on developing future employees from all communities in our region.
A perfect example of this would be if a Racine County transportation service could coordinate with organizations like Waukesha County Technical College to get individuals who are in the dual enrollment program or nearing the end of skilled trades courses to the Foxconn jobsite to start their careers. This would require the assistance of workforce organizations, private companies and others to make sure the needs of all parties are being met. This type of coordination would allow us to extract workforce in a strategic way from all surrounding areas.
The same scenario could also apply to Milwaukee residents. Now you might wonder, “Well what about the local contractors who need people?” This process would open many more training opportunities across the state, allowing for smooth career entry for individuals who fall into demographics with high unemployment, such as our correctional system and underserved communities.
Only in finding the strength and courage to work together seamlessly will we be able to target our approach towards poverty, the skills gap and the worker shortage simultaneously. We have achieved great things in the state of Wisconsin and we can be a shining example to the rest of the country for how this national issue should be properly addressed.
And, as a result, we will benefit from fruitful communities, expanded opportunities for all and a growing workforce that can complete a project of Foxconn’s scale while also keeping its local contractors supplied with the workers they need to grow. This is the result we all should strive for.
When old patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.