MMAC: Legislature delivers workforce win

Vocational Diploma Option Creates New Tool for Talent Pipeline

MADISON — Legislation giving school boards new tools for the development of vocational skills curricula passed the Assembly on a bi-partisan vote late last night and is on its way to the Governor’s desk. The Vocational Diploma Bill will help provide a valuable way to train young people for the workforce of the 21st Century according to Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC).

“Wisconsin is the national leader in manufacturing,” noted Sheehy. “If we are going to keep that competitive edge, we are going to need a steady supply of individuals with technical skills training. The Vocational Diploma bill is key to a long-range workforce strategy for growing Wisconsin’s economy.”

Under the Vocational Diploma Bill (AB447/SB335), school districts would be authorized to create a separate curriculum for students seeking a “Technical Skills Diploma.” The curriculum for this diploma option would supplement existing graduation requirements with courses providing an emphasis on vocational skills and technical trades. By offering this option, students who may or may not be on a college track can learn work-ready skills in vocational areas that are in high demand in Wisconsin.

“There are a lot of good-paying, family-supporting jobs in the manufacturing and skilled trade sectors of our economy that are currently going unfilled because of a lack of trained workers,” said Sheehy. “Creating a stronger linkage between the curriculum options available to our students and the workforce skills needs of our employers is crucial to getting Wisconsin back to work and keeping our state open for business.”

The Vocational Diploma bill was approved by the state Assembly on a bi-partisan voice vote. The legislation had previously been passed by the state Senate and will now go to Governor Walker for signature into law.

The MMAC represents 1,800 member businesses employing more than 300,000 workers throughout the Metropolitan Milwaukee area.

For more information, contact JULIE GRANGER, MMAC Vice President of Communications at 414.287.4157.