Capital Building imageMADISON — ABC of Wisconsin is leading a coalition of employee-owned, union, and non-union employers to help address the skilled labor shortage. The Second Start Act, which passed the Assembly last session (AB 124) on a vote of 87-8 with broad, bipartisan support, is a creative way to recruit an underutilized market; the 10,000 individuals every year who were enrolled in the University of Wisconsin System but did not graduate. These former college students would be supplied with information about other career, educational, and training opportunities, including apprenticeship in the skilled trades through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

ABC sent a memo to Wisconsin legislators this week seeking co-authorship of the measure to support efforts by Rep. Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa), Sen. Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) and Sen. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville). The memo encourages legislators to get on board with the measure, LRB 3818/1, a continuation of previous successful efforts to bridge the skilled workers gap. 

Organizations in the coalition include: Associated General Contractors of Greater Milwaukee; Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin; National Federation of Independent Business; Wisconsin Builders Association; Wisconsin Geothermal Association; Wisconsin Independent Business; Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce; Wisconsin Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association; Wisconsin Roofing Contractors Association; Wisconsin Association of Home Healty Care and Wisconsin Water Well Association. 

The materials and postage costs would be paid for by private organizations providing apprenticeship or nursing training, technical colleges, and private organizations training in collaboration with technical colleges. The list of former students would be compiled by the University of Wisconsin System and only provided to the DWD. Previous fiscal estimates assess the cost of this initiative to taxpayers at under $40,000, and the program sunsets after five years unless renewed by subsequent legislation.