Voter ID Decision, Attracting Young People To Manufacturing Jobs

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

Employers nationwide are saying skilled trades positions are the hardest to fill for the fourth consecutive year. We look at how Wisconsin companies are trying to attract young people to the manufacturing field. We also find out the impact of the federal court decision to not expand acceptable forms of voter ID in Wisconsin.

Featured in this Show

  • New Campaign Aims To Attract Millennials To Manufacturing Jobs

    October is manufacturing month in Wisconsin, and businesses, schools and state policymakers are trying to send a message: help wanted.

    With an aging workforce, Wisconsin’s manufacturers are targeting young skilled workers with a campaign to get the word out to millennials that there are viable career options that don’t require a four-year college degree.

    Employing nearly half a million people in Wisconsin, manufacturing is the state’s most important job sector and often generates additional employment through the supply chain and transportation network, according to Steve Benzschawel, a director at Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

    “I think we’ve become all kind of guilty of pushing way too many kids towards a four-year university, which is an awesome place for plenty of kids … but there’s a whole lot of kids that aren’t even aware of the awesome opportunities that are waiting for them in manufacturing,” said Benzschawel.

    Benzschawel said manufacturers are growing increasingly desperate to find replacements for those who are retiring from the industry.

    “If it’s not a workforce crisis right now,” he said, “that’s certainly where we’re headed.”

    To help attract new workers, the campaign aims to dispel some of the myths that surround manufacturing jobs.

    “The old stereotype for a factory job was that you’d hear of the three ‘ds,’” Benzschawel said. “That it’s dark in there, it’s a dirty job and that’s dangerous, and maybe even that it’s for dumb people.”

    When in fact, the reality is that many manufacturing jobs are located in state-of-the-art facilities that offer workers freedom from monotony, he said.

    The campaign is also focuses on teachers by incorporating hands-on curriculum into classrooms and parents by stressing that manufacturing jobs typically require less post-secondary education and often there’s a job waiting for a student after graduation.

    “So, if you presented that story to a parent and said, half the education, half the tuition, possibly zero debt, and a job that’s averaging about $55,000 a year coming right out of school, that sounds like a pretty good deal to me. And I think that’s the story we need to keep telling to as many people as we can,” Benzschawel said.

  • Federal Judge Denies Petition To Expand Forms Of Voter ID In Wisconsin

    A federal judge has ruled against the ACLU in their bid to expand the types of idenitfication that would be accepted as voter IDs. We find out what impact that will have on Wisconsin’s voters.

  • Attracting MillenialsTo Manufacturing Jobs

    October is Manufacturing Month. We’ll take a look at efforts to attract and retain millenials workers in the those trades.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Steve Benzschawel Guest