Reskilling Milwaukee for the Future
Kevin O’ Connor
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s TechEd Frontiers stands ready to prepare southeast Wisconsin’s workforce for the future.
TechEd Frontiers, UWM’s workforce development solution, reskills and upskills employees to fill the largest skills gaps of the region’s employers. The program’s online, self-paced pathways help employers grow their own talent and employees future proof their careers.
UWM Vice Provost Phyllis King says this win-win is crucial for the region’s economic development.
“Our tools and technologies are only as good as how they are used,” King said. “Who is using them, who is developing them, who is dreaming about them and who is planning for them, that all comes from human capital. Our human capital is our greatest resource and if we don’t grow our human capital and our intelligence through education and learning, we won’t be as effective in growing economically as a region.”
The first two TechEd Frontiers pathways – Cybersecurity Analyst I and Data Analytics and Visualization with Excel – are keenly focused on skills and needs identified by the program’s Industry Advisory Council. Employers are consistently saying they need employees with these skills and competencies. They are also realizing the most cost-effective and efficient way for their workforce to attain them is to grow their talent from within.
“Larger organizations, and some medium and small organizations, are assessing their employees’ skills and feeling more urgency to plan for advancing performance to meet future needs in order to remain competitive,” King said. “Otherwise, they’re going to have to go out and find that talent. If they can grow talent from within, it’s going to be a less costly venture.”
TechEd Frontiers leverages UWM’s status as an online education leader and its R1 status as a top research institution to bring industry-validated learning directly to employers and their employees..
Companies, King says, should be asking themselves what problems they are trying to solve and what are their desired outcomes. Strategic human resource efforts can determine their future skills and competencies needed now. Upskilling now will be key to the growth of these companies.
“Continued learning has a significant impact on growth and economic development ,,” King said. “To live in a city that thrives means living in a city that is growth-minded and forward-thinking about economic development.”
“A lot is at stake to building a workforce that is going to contribute to the growth and future vitality of the city of Milwaukee and the region. Employers need to make upskilling and reskilling a part of their human resources strategies and practices. Employees will be looking for continued learning as a benefit. Upskilling will become a strategy for employee retention. ”