According to Department of Workforce Development estimates, as many as 46,000 Wisconsin jobs could go unfilled in 2022. Demographic trends, including the retirement of baby boomers, may be driving a good portion of this labor shortage, but that is only part of the story. Other factors, such as mismatches between where jobs are located and where people live, or the type of jobs available versus the skills of available workers, also play a role. In addition, many adults want to work, but face significant barriers to successful employment. The current labor market presents a unique opportunity: How can Wisconsin policymakers help increase the employability of these individuals and strengthen their families, while also meeting employers’ needs and strengthening the state’s economy?
The first seminar speaker discussed the size and characteristics of Wisconsin’s workforce, as well as other underlying factors affecting the labor market. The second and third speakers presented several evidence-based policy options to engage and support two populations with much to gain from participating in the labor market: low-income, low-skilled adults and people with criminal histories.
The Wisconsin Family Impact Seminars are an initiative of the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, with generous financial support from the UW–Madison Chancellor’s Office and Phyllis M. Northway Fund.
Labor Market Trends in Wisconsin
by Tessa Conroy
UW-Madison Assistant Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics & UW-Extension Economic Development Specialist
Evidence-Based Approaches for Economic Success of Low-Income Workers
by Julie Strawn
Principal Associate, Social and Economic Policy, Abt Associates
Strategies to Improve Employment Outcomes for People with Criminal Histories
by Marc Pelka
Deputy Director of State Initiatives, Council of State Governments Justice Center
- Evidence-Based Approaches for Economic Success of Low-Income Workers (Report Chapter, pdf)
by Karin Martinson, Principal Associate, Social and Economic Policy, Abt Associates