This past weekend, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee made another investment in Wisconsin by adding more than 3,400 highly-skilled graduates to our economy.
These graduates are the individuals who work for you and who provide immense value to our region and state. For example, you will see in this video how Katrina Hightower leveraged many opportunities to land a full-time job at Kohl’s as a software engineer. Engagement in research opportunities also have impact. Watch this video about howAnne Barlas’s undergraduate research helped her get a job for Rexnord in the water and energy fields These are just two examples among thousands.
Every May, we hold two ceremonies because the large number of graduates, family members, alumni and supporters cannot fit into the UWM Panther Arena at once. However, even when we add the 2,200 graduates from last December, we still are not producing enough college-educated individuals to address the looming talent shortage in Wisconsin.
Tim Sheehy, President of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, testified before the Joint Finance Committee last month on this very issue. He shared that our region is projected to grow 45,000 jobs over the next decade, at the same time our labor force is expected to decline by 43,000. This will create a net ‘workforce gap’ of 88,000 job openings.
Eight of the 10 Wisconsin-based Fortune 500 companies are located in southeastern Wisconsin. More than any other university in Wisconsin, UWM fills the talent pipeline for highly-skilled professionals. Our talent pipeline partnerships are a powerful force for the region and include collaborations with Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual, Kohl’s, Rockwell Automation, WEC Energy, and more.
UWM has an enormous impact in Wisconsin with 74% of our graduates remaining in the state to live and work. We contribute the skilled workers needed for our state’s industries to remain competitive. And, as one of America’s top 115 research institutions we are also an idea factory of discoveries and innovations.
UWM has kept its promise to be responsive to the needs of the state while providing higher educational opportunities in an economical fashion. Our dual mission of research and access is one of Wisconsin’s greatest assets that continues to provide value in the form of our graduates who contribute beyond measure to our region, state and wider world. Our people and their life-changing contributions are clearly worth investment.
I encourage you to contact your local state legislators – and ask your colleagues and neighbors to do the same – to share the positive impact UWM has had on you, your businesses and organizations, your family and our communities. Using these UWM state budget talking points and your individual experiences, ask for them to invest in UW-Milwaukee. Our state and region will benefit from a strong UWM.
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee