Milwaukee Press Club: Behind the Headlines — Southeastern Wisconsin’s job-workforce mismatch

Employers struggling to find skilled workers.

Unemployed workers desperate for jobs.

How did it come to this? And what’s the solution?

The Milwaukee Press Club is proud to present a Behind the Headlines in-depth discussion on Southeastern Wisconsin’s Job-Workforce Mismatch.

Three Milwaukee journalists will question some of the state’s top experts on the topic over lunch, Tuesday November 27th, at Foley & Lardner LLP, conference room on the 40th floor of the U.S. Bank Building, 777 E. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53202

The event is open to the public.

The Experts (listed alphabetically):

Deputy Secretary Jonathan Barry As deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), Jonathan Barry serves as its chief operating officer, overseeing day-to-day operations of the agency’s six divisions and approximately 1,600 employees. Barry’s resume includes years of experience as a farmer, business executive, non-profit director, public sector manager and elected official. For the past 10 years, he has worked as Development Director of Dane County’s largest youth employment and training organization, Operation Fresh Start, Inc.

Melanie Holmes, vice president, World of Work Solutions, Manpower Group Holmes began her career at Manpower in 1982 as a temporary employee. Her talents soon recognized, she earned a permanent position. Holmes’s roles since have included serving as VP of Product/Program Development, Quality Officer for North America and VP of Customer Services. Today, Holmes shares Manpower’s extensive labor force knowledge while building strategic partnerships with leadership organizations across the country. In 2007, the U.S. Secretary of Labor appointed Holmes to the Job Corps Advisory Board, a position she still holds. Find her blog on the changing world of work at

Mary Isbister, president, GenMet Corp. Mary Isbister heads a 75 employee metal fabricating company located in Mequon. She and her husband purchased the company in 1999, and have quadrupled its revenue growth. Isbister is serving a two-year term as a member of the U.S. Manufacturing Council, which reports to the Secretary of Commerce. In addition, she serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, the Milwaukee 7 Next Generation Manufacturing Council and WUWM. Ibister helped compile the recent state report on Wisconsin’s skills gap.

Chancellor Mike Lovell, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee A professor of mechanical engineering, Lovell joined UWM in 2008 as dean of the College of Engineering & Applied Science and became Chancellor in 2011.Since then, Lovell has helped form the Wisconsin Energy Research Consortium, a partnership among UWM, Marquette, MSOE, UW-Madison, and regional power and energy industries; assisted in the launch of the ANSYS Institute for Industrial Innovation (AI3) fostering innovative educational, outreach and economic development activities between UWM and regional industry and guided the college to a 250 percent increase in research expenditures and 88 percent increase in research awards.

The Journalists (listed alphabetically):

Rich Kirchen, senior reporter, The Business Journal Serving Greater Milwaukee John Mercure, host of Wisconsin Afternoon News, WTMJ-AM John Schmid, reporter, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Lead Sponsor:


Supporting Sponsors:

Foley & Lardner LLP

BMO Harris Bank

Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

Milwaukee Press Club’s Behind the Headlines is a quarterly program where newsmakers discuss the most pressing issues of the day.

Cost and Registration:

The cost to attend is $20 for MPC members, $25 for non-members. Lunch is included. Seating will be limited. Pre-registration and advance payment is required and may be done online at Checks may be mailed to the MPC at PO Box 176, North Prairie, WI 53153-0176.


The new US Bank parking structure is open for daily parkers. Guests can enter at Clybourn St. or Michigan St. There are reserved visitor parking spots for US Bank guest parkers. From the parking structure, take the elevator down to the B2 level and follow the walkway/signs to the next set of elevators and go up to the Galleria level. Walk past the security station to the middle set of elevators and go up to the 40th floor.

Cancellations will be accepted up to 48 hours in advance for a full refund. Please contact Joette Richards at the Milwaukee Press Club at with any questions; or to pay by credit card, email [email protected] or call 262-894-2224.