September is Workforce Development Month. As we kick off this celebratory month and enter the final quarter of 2022, I want to highlight the innovation we have all done in the face of constant shifting and hardship. The pandemic forced everyone to make big changes. In the post-COVID workforce development space, an exciting spot for reimagination, rediscovery, and reinvention has emerged.
Many people are talking about The Great Resignation – The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that more than 4.3 million people voluntarily left their jobs in December 2021. This Great Resignation has transformed into the Great Reinvention, as job seekers who craved change are taking their futures into their own hands. In turn, workforce development strategies must be reimagined to continually serve job seekers and employers.
As COVID-19 forced workers home, digital literacy skills became a requirement for many jobs that did not need this before. Employ Milwaukee recognized this gap and launched our Digital Literacy Lab in February 2021 to train job seekers with the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.
With youth staying home, incidents of juvenile crime spiked in Milwaukee. To address this, we launched Camp RISE to provide enrichment, career exploration, and stipends to young men aged 10-14. Along with our partners Milwaukee Public Schools, City of Milwaukee, and Voices of the Elders, we had to think creatively on how to engage Milwaukee youth and support our future workforce.
We also expanded our work-based learning programs because what better way to learn than do? Skillful Transitions serves adult community members who were impacted by the pandemic by training and upskilling job seekers while filling jobs at local businesses and supplying them with wages to push back into the community.
The worker shortage that has risen over the past year has caused employers to reimagine labor pools and tap into areas they may not have considered before. Employ Milwaukee invests heavily in connecting formerly incarcerated individuals to pre- and post-release employment services to connect them to quality jobs and economic prosperity while reducing recidivism rates and filling employers’ essential job openings.
Throughout September, Employ Milwaukee will be highlighting the people who make these above programs possible, and introducing you to a small handful of participant success stories. I encourage you to follow along with us on social media as we celebrate Workforce Development Month, and join us as we continue to reimagine, rediscover, and reinvent what it means to succeed as a community.