Sen. Larson, Rep. Mason introduce Wisconsin Jobs Initiative

At a press conference yesterday, Democratic State Sen. Chris Larson of Milwaukee and Democratic State Rep. Cory Mason of Racine introduced the Wisconsin Jobs Initiative. The introduction of the Wisconsin Jobs Initiative comes on the heels of failed efforts by Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his Republican-controlled rubber stamp legislature to make any progress creating jobs in Wisconsin, efforts that have yielded months of private sector job losses and an unemployment rate that’s higher now than when Gov. Walker was inaugurated.

Here’s some details on the Wisconsin Jobs Initiative, as well as statements by Rep. Mason and Sen. Larson:

The Wisconsin Jobs Initiative will provide job skills training and education to at least 35,000 Wisconsin workers through a significant investment in Wisconsin’s Technical College System (WTCS). The bill would replace the $34.2 million cut from the WTCS in the biennial budget. It also allocates $35.8 million in grants to provide skill training and education, assist dislocated workers, and expand capacity at technical colleges statewide. Preference for the grants will be given to areas of the state with high unemployment.

Rep. Mason said, “Wisconsin’s employers have joined the chorus of voices calling for a skilled workforce. A significant investment in our state’s workers is long overdue. I am proud to stand with Wisconsin’s struggling workers and employers during these challenging economic times. This bill gives employers what they say they need most right now: skilled workers. This initiative allows us to stand by the workers and companies who built the Wisconsin economy and help them grow in the future.”

“Governor Walker’s cuts to education forced Wisconsin’s technical colleges to scale back important job training. As a result, companies like Caterpillar have family-supporting jobs available but lack the right skilled workers to fill them,” said Sen. Larson. “This legislation will help in the short-term by providing Wisconsinites with vital job training to get our neighbors back to work and provide our local businesses long-term with the qualified, skilled applicants they need for years to come.”

The bill proposed by Sen. Larson and Rep. Mason would pay for the investment in Wisconsin’s Technical College System through the creation of a new top income tax rate for those tax filers whose annual incomes exceed $1 million. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) there are approximately 2,900 Wisconsin tax filers who would be impacted by this change, which would generate at least $70 million in new revenue in its first year.

Obviously the creation of a new top tax bracket for Wisconsin’s richest citizens will make the Wisconsin Jobs Initiative a non-starter for Republicans in the legislature, because God forbid the rich actually share some of the sacrifice during these tough economic times, but I think there’s a lot to be said for bolstering Wisconsin’s Technical College System, which has traditionally been one of the nation’s strongest technical college systems.


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11 thoughts on “Sen. Larson, Rep. Mason introduce Wisconsin Jobs Initiative

  1. Skills training is the most overused and ineffective method of job creation which does nothing but prop up technical schools at the taxpayer expense. We can train every single unemployed person how to fly a plane, yet there are a finite number of jobs for pilots. We don’t have a shortage of skilled workers, we have a shortage of willing workers. Every kid who graduates college has just spent 4+ years learning skills but then believes that he/she deserves to be paid a starting salary of $60k and therefore will not accept an entry level job making $35k. This is not due to a lack of skills, people are no longer willing to take a job, work hard and move up through the ranks. It is much easier to sit back, collect unemployment and whine about how you cannot get a job that will pay you as much as you think you deserve.

    1. tBag, I am going to partially agree with you. I am very supportive of Wisconsin’s technical schools and I think they need more support not less. But yes, we need to train individuals in the skills that employers need, not just any skill in the book.

      But you are grossly wrong in saying we don’t have a shortage of skilled workers…there are continually items in the local paper from CEOs complaining that they can’t find qualified help. So here’s what I really don’t understand. Why are they complaining in the media instead of hiking over to the nearest TC and laying it on the line: Here’s the skills I need and how to I help you develop a program to fill my need?

      OR, if free enterprise is so completely self-knowing and self-healing as the right would have us believe, why aren’t these very same CEOs hiring and training them in exactly the skills they need? Why not? Cause it’s prohibitively expensive and the costs will hurt their bonus next year.

      And I know you are full of it about people willing to work…and if you think unemployment compensation comes anywhere near being enough income to support yourself much less a couple or a family…you are totally out of touch.

  2. Any incentives for the employers to provide skills training? This used to be called an apprenticeship system, right?

  3. Now, as a follow up to my reply to tbag…I applaud Senator Larson and Representative Mason for supporting Wisconsin’s technical schools. But take what I said to heart too…and look up the companies complaining about lack of skilled workers, work with them to set up the appropriate program at their local schools, and get them involved. And then announce their program on their front porch like Governor Walker does with his little job announcements.

    AND, don’t waste your time building up programs with the highest unemployment…build the programs where there is the biggest need and bring the unemployed to the programs!!!

  4. Ed, please show me an example of “items in the local paper from CEOs complaining that they can’t find qualified help”. Are you telling me that now you would beleive what the evil CEO’s might claim?
    Second, please tell me what skills other than basic computer training can a tech school provide that would span across all industry and not be specific to an industry or company. Again you would trust an evil CEO to provide the tech schools with an accurate assessment of his company needs? and then wouldn’t the tech school be contributing to Wall Street greed by training people for this CEO’s evil enterprise?
    As far as the willingness to work, I personally interviewed and hired five people in the last two months. For one full time delivery position I offered 4 different individuals who were not currently employed the position paying $13/hr with full benefits. All four turned it down. Go ahead make your claim that a person couldn’t support a family on this level of pay, I agree, problem is three of these guys were single 20 year olds. I then listed a customer service position paying $45k/year for more than two weeks and received a grand total of 6 applicants, of which only two were even remotely qualified. You can claim that I am out of touch, but I encounter everyday instances of people who refuse to work, and it has nothing to do with not having skills.


      I didn’t say that CEOs are evil…and I do take what they say with a grain of salt because they are protecting their profits…but they are out there talking abougt issues for a reason…but if you actually think there is a shortage of labor for your business, it’s your responsibility to do something about it…you’re the CEO after all.

  5. Lefty Tim Sullivan who also wanted the county taxpayers to build him a train to run from inner city Milwaukee to Bucyrus’ front door, was this so he could add highly paid skilled workers? I think not, he is another grossly overpaid CEO, of a company that builds environment killing mining equipment. Kudos for finding an example, although it is over a year old.

    1. I gave you two links…the first one is from Sept of this year…and I just grabbed the first two that I found in a search of If I had spent more than 10 minutes I could have found more. I didn’t find the one I was remembering when I originally posted.

  6. Yep. That’s us liberals. We don’t work hard and try to make something of ourselves. We just sit around and grouse about the economy and collect unemployment.
    TBag, just go to hell. I’m sick of your insane generalizations and lack of information and stupid, pointless opinions. When presented with facts, you ignore them and start another straw man thread. You haven’t a clue about anything and your posts are tedious. Get a fucking job and do something with your worthless ass.

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