Gov. Scott Walker announced Monday he is creating a new council to help better prepare students for college and careers.I can't make this type of idiocy up. Once again, we have an example of Scott Walker's "Act first, think and react to reality later" type of decision-making. Walker decided to cut the living daylights out of tech schools and K-12 education to get after dem ejukay-ted types and funnel tax cuts to his campaign contributors, Then once his approval ratings and Wisconsin's economy tanked, Scotty was left scrambling, and had to look like he was "doing something" to combat the lack of skills Wisconsin businesses say potential employees have.
The move comes after Walker and the Legislature last year cut $71 million over two years from funding for Wisconsin's technical colleges, whose primary mission is to train students for available jobs.
Democrats and others criticized that cut and a $250 million reduction in funding for the University of Wisconsin System as harmful to worker training efforts. Walker and Republicans who control the Legislature made the cuts as part of their plan to address a predicted $3.6 billion gap in the state budget.
Whenever I read about these type of "Walker correcting a screw-up" stories (and there have been many), this song always seems to play in my head.
Of course, a real leader would have dealt with the skills deficit in the first place, and asked both Wisconsin workers and businesses for advice on how to deal with this problem, instead of huddling with ALEC-type oligarchs and randomly slashing one of the key resources that could help solve the problem (the tech schools).
And the solution Walker and his advisors came up with to "solve" this problem he helped cause is so haphazard that it stands a good chance of not working, and will come at a higher taxpayer expense to boot.
Walker said in a statement that the council would work to improve student readiness for college and careers through a variety of measures, including designing shorter and less costly degree programs aimed at filling jobs that are in demand and expanding dual enrollment and dual credit opportunities for high school students....Not a bad start, but a lot of those dual-credit courses for high school students have a slight hang-up - half of Wisconsin school districts reported cutting "career and tech" classes this year due to Walker's cuts to public schools. That's a Rick Perry Texas-sized "OOPS!"
I also want to see what these "shorter and less costly" degree programs are, because that screams University of Phoenix-style privatization that just might coincidentally move students into paying tuition at second-rate schools that just so happen to be run by Walker contributors. So let's wait for the details on this part of the plan.
Here's a few more parts of the Walker correction of an economic development plan.
Walker also threw his support behind a bill designed to make it easier for veterans and those in the military to receive professional credentials from the state and another measure that creates a pilot program to provide unpaid, part-time training with employers that may lead to full-time work.Good idea trying to hire vets, as they're struggling with high unemployment and a disproportionate amount of work-related disability. But having them be glorified interns with unpaid training from employers? In addition to giving vets short shrift for their service, this seems to be a way to allow employers to pass the buck when it comes to training their employees, and instead moving that cost onto the taxpayer. Of course, socializing the costs and allowing businesses to keep the profits are a GOP staple, but it's still very sketchy and the apprenticeship goal could probably be accomplished in a way that looks a lot less like a giveaway to contributors.
The governor also directed the Department of Workforce Development and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to bring together unemployment insurance claimants with businesses looking to hire.Ok, I'm glad to see there might be more connections for job-seekers. But tell me Scotty, WHO'S PAYING FOR THE 14 NEW HIRES AND ALL THESE NEW EVENTS? It's like the Family Care cap situation, where you shouldn't have been cutting in the first place, or at the very least discussing about what might happen if you did. But because of this Administration failure to think ahead, now they have to turn around and spend money that isn't in the budget to deal with a problem that you didn't need to have in the first place. So in addition to the infuriation that Walker's bad policies have landed us in such a bad spot that we have to do another huge correction at added cost, I'm not so sure this new plan will even do anything to solve the skills and jobs problems, and in fact, might be just another giveaway to GOP contributors over something that might yield positive results.
Walker said the Department of Workforce Development will double the number of job fairs it holds across the state to 100 this year in hopes of getting the unemployed into current vacancies.
The department also will hire 14 additional staff members who will be able to serve roughly an additional 400 job-seekers a week, Walker's office said.
Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer to have governors and other chief executives that possess the foresight to see what will happen more than 1 week in the future, instead of throwing together foolish back-room policies and then have to compound the problems and extra costs once the failure to plan comes to the forefront. Oh well, I guess we'll have to find out how an effective, thoughtful, planning leader might act when we get a new governor in the next 6 months.