Wisconsin has a jobs crisis. A lack of workers to fill skilled trades, lofty expectations from recent college graduates and public benefits are stifling a will to work here in our great state. According to a 2012 report produced by the ManpowerGroup, “Wisconsin will have fewer than half the metal manufacturing professionals that it needs by 2021...” Because Wisconsin is still very much a manufacturing center, we must continue to encourage our youth to consider opportunities for skilled-trade apprenticeships to help fill these jobs. It has also become apparent that many recent college graduates feel their degree entitles them to cushy, white collar jobs with $50,000+ salaries. This is not the real world! In fact, many graduates will often have to begin at the ground floor until they learn the ropes and garner experience. Public benefits are also contributing to our jobs crisis. I recently requested a study from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau which revealed that a family of four, earning $30,000 per year could receive $36,000 in state and federal benefits! (The study is not included in Kremer’s press release. Be verrry skeptical.) Some local employers (which ones?) have told me of potential prospects who turned down an offer because additional, non-cash earnings would cut into their benefits. As a state, we must continue to have serious discussions and encourage ideas to reform these social engineering experiments.Actually Jesse, Wisconsin has been in a “social engineering experiment” for the last 5 years, and you’ve been part of it. Worker power over wages has been diminished and corporations and other businesses have been bestowed with numerous tax cuts in an alleged attempt to encourage them to expand and add jobs. The result? The worst job growth in the Midwest, and the
And by the way, $50,000 is not an unrealistic request for a salary in many types of jobs for college graduates. I just went to payscale.com, punched up “less than 1 year experience”, and numerous job titles come back with expected salaries between $50,000 and $68,000. These include jobs like Financial Analysts, Software Developers, Engineers and Registered Nurses. And the U.S. Census Bureau reports that the average salary for people age 18-24 with a bachelor degree in 2014 was over $45,000 for men and just under $40,000 for women. That includes U of Phoenix grads and other second-rate schools- you’d imagine a degree from a top-flight school like UW-Madison would command more than that. Also worth noting, the average salary for men 18-24 with bachelor’s degrees was much higher in 2013- $49,212, and women were over $41,000.
So Jesse, the reason that new college grads feel “their degree entitles them to cushy, white collar jobs with $50,000+ salaries,” is BECAUSE IT OFTEN DOES. And if Kremer and the mediocre businessMEN that make up the corporate community of SE Wisconsin don’t understand that fact, and don’t compete on salary, then no wonder they can’t fill jobs and why young people are leaving the state for better job prospects.
And the lack of competition on salary isn’t the only reason this state can’t attract or retain talent. Defunding schools and regressive social legislation are two big ways to make sure no one with an open mind, a science-based skill set, and/or a sense of decency are going to want to stay in Wisconsin. Not only has Jesse Kremer backed the K-12 and higher education funding cuts that have been part of the ALEC/WisGOP agenda, he was the author of the bigoted “bathroom bill” that discriminated against transgender high school students. If the GOPs are allowed to stay in power, you can bet Kremer will be pushing harder in 2017 to pass the same type of homophobic and hateful legislation that has led to entertainers and government officials announcing boycotts of North Carolina in recent weeks.
As for the dog-whistle complaint of state benefits “stifling the will to work,”? Funny how Kremer releases this on the same day that the Wisconsin State Journal noted that a state report said nearly 2/3 of certain Food Share recipients could not find work through a state job training program in the last year, and over 41,000 ended up losing their food assistance. Even a rare “success story”, as quoted in this Wisconsin Public Radio news article, had to earn his position by working for free. That is not a luxury most adults can afford.
However, some Wisconsinites have been able to gain employment through the FSET program. Shawn Mattson completed the training and is now employed at Empire Screen Printing near La Crosse. He said he wasn't a fan of the new work requirements at first.Remember, these are the “success stories” that Walker is spending taxpayer dollars to promote throughout the state this week. And they’re covering up the massive failures of his administration and Wisconsin employers in not hiring the majority of these applicants.
"I always don't like being told what to do," he said. "But I do get the free benefits, so why not? And as it turned out, it was a great opportunity."
Mattson said he worked at Empire Screen Printing for 3 months without pay during a resume building program, and was then hired to work full-time for the company. He said FSET lead to a better job than the ones he was applying for before enrolling in the program.
So yet again, Wisconsin Republicans like Jesse Kremer show that they really don’t understand that low pay and other regressive policy choices are a main reason behind Wisconsin’s “jobs crisis.” That, or their WMC paymasters are telling them not to mention what is obvious to anyone that has an ounce of legitimate business sense. Which is that Wisconsin needs to be offering higher pay to skilled workers, and encouraging high-quality education and innovation to meet the needs of the 21st Century economy. Instead, the ALEC crew has done the complete opposite, and keeps on trying to make excuses and deflect from their failures to make Wisconsin truly “open for business”, and the state’s economy continues to suffer under this Reign of Error.