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Increased Participation = Increased Value
While the students are on Summer break, it’s a great time to think about your company’s strategy for participation in Inspire Madison Region this upcoming academic year . What message do you want the upcoming workforce to hear? What resources does your company have available to offer?
In this post, we’ve listed three easy but powerful ways that your company can improve its Inspire experience. In doing so, you’ll also help more young people from the Madison Region make smart choices as they navigate their academic and career pathways.
- Add more careers to your company profile. This is the number one easiest way to make your company more visible in Inspire. Log in to your profile, then click on “Update Company Profile” then “Career Profile Links”. You can search for careers to add here. When a student or educator is using Xello to research a career, one of their options is to look at local companies who said they hire people in that career. The more of your career fields you connect your business with, the better the chance a student or educator will find you.
- Recruit online career coaches from within your company in key career areas. One of the great things about Inspire’s career message boards is that answers from career coaches benefit anyone who views that thread long after the question is answered. Young people may be curious about a career, but don’t have anyone in the know to talk with about it. This is your opportunity to be a local resource, answer questions and give guidance to the future workforce. If you signed up already as a career coach on behalf of your employer or independently, log in to your Xello account and see which careers you picked by clicking on “Update my Profile”. Also, see if there is information about your work history that you can add. If your company has not recruited career coaches, please consider it. It’s an efficient way for employees to log volunteer hours from anywhere, including at work without leaving the office. To recruit employees, send them the following information: Employee Recruitment Flyer; Career-Coach Registration Link
- Add a “Who We Hire” section to your profile. This is where you can spell out the qualities, skills, certifications, education and experience that you look for in potential candidates in general or for particular in-demand careers you want to promote. For example, if a company had a great need for pharmacy technicians, they could include information on that career, what the educational requirements are and potentially any direction on where to get that education. Or, if you wanted to talk more generally about what your company looks for when hiring, you could write that instead. Information like this is very helpful to educators and students trying to understand the local career landscape, what’s available and what’s needed to get there. Simply log in to your profile, click on “Update Company Profile” and then “Who We Hire”. You can add a URL to your careers web page if you have one, and then fill in the rest of the information you want the future workforce to know about.
As always, please tell your friends about Inspire! The Inspire team can only do so much to recruit employers to join this network of businesses, schools, and community-based organizations. But with your word-of-mouth power, we can go much farther. The more employers we have, the better the system will be for everyone involved. If you have acquaintances, colleagues, friends or rCBLEtives you think might want to join Inspire as a company or career coach, send them to: https://inspiremadisonregion.org/employers to register.
We hope that you and your company or organization will take advantage of the simple suggestions we’ve listed to improve your Inspire experience. But even if you only choose one, it will still make Inspire Madison Region a more powerful tool for students, educators and employers who participate.
To log in to your Inspire profile and make the edits you decide on, go to : http://careercruising.com/partner
As always, if you have any questions or need your log-in credentials, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inspire Madison Region is all about making connections. Those connections are continuing to grow over the summer months as new employers and career coaches join the network of schools, employers and community-based organizations.
By creating a company profile, serving as an online career coach and/or offering experiential learning activities to students, educators and job seekers in our region, employers from the Madison Region can improve the local understanding of the labor market and explain the steps needed to pursue careers in many industries. Inspire also gives employers the ability to positively impact the local talent pipeline.
With the help of our education, business and community-based organization partners, we’ve made great progress over the last year building Inspire in Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Green, Iowa, Jefferson and Sauk Counties. Below are some current stats that highlight important metrics on the Inspire Madison Region initiative. We now have:
- 510 Career-based Learning Activities (CBLEs) offered to students, educators and job seekers
- 130 Online Career Coaches answering questions from Inspire users
- 117 Employers with profiles highlighting their business
- 14 active districts with a total of 34 active school sites: Madison Metropolitan School District, McFarland School District, Deerfield School District, Mt. Horeb School District, Cambridge School District, Baraboo School District, River Valley High School, Highland High School, Monroe School District, Beaver Dam School District, Columbus School District, Madison College, Dane County Job Center, Jefferson County Job Center. Middleton, Portage, Sun Prairie, Johnson Creek, and others getting ready to join as well.
- 22,976 active student portfolios in the seven county region and nearly 1000 educators with active accounts to get access to Inspire.
Industry Highlights – Number of employers with profiles in the top eight focus industries in our region:
- Advanced manufacturing = 45 employers
- Healthcare = 35 employers
- Life Sciences = 40 employers
- IT = 48 employers
- Construction = 41 employers
- Agriculture = 33 employers
- Finance = 33 employers
- Real Estate = 5 employers (Attention: Real Estate companies 🙂
Interactions through Inspire to date:
- Career Coach Message Boards: 159 interactions between September 2015 and May 6th, 2016
- Career-based Learning Activities: At least 50 experiential learning activities completed between September 2015 and May 6th, 2016
In April 2016, Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) assumed leadership of Inspire Madison Region bringing with it new opportunities for partnerships to develop between post-secondary institutions, school districts, employers, government agencies and community-based organizations.
Inspire’s geography is also growing. Grant, Lafayette, Crawford and Richland Counties are joining through the leadership at Prosperity Southwest Wisconsin. That will make Inspire Madison Region an 11 county implementation, one of the largest Inspire networks in the nation!
There is still a lot to accomplish to take Inspire to the next level. In the coming months, many more school districts from across the region will be joining the initiative – giving your company a further reach to your future workforce.
Here’s a link to ways that you can increase the value that you and/or your business receive from participating: https://inspiremadisonregion.org/threewaystoincreasevalue/
Remember, to login to your Inspire profile, go to : http://careercruising.com/partner
If you’d like to recruit career coaches from within your organization, please have them register at: Register Now as a Career Coach!
Thank you again for your participation in this important initiative!
In order to create a resource that is valuable to our employers, educators and students, there are a number of factors that need balancing.
- Targeting the right industries for employer participation
- Recruiting employers in close proximity to our education partners
- Partnering with the right number of schools and community-based organizations
- Ensuring that all 16 career clusters have adequate employer participation so that all students will find information relevant to their interests
- Recruiting career coaches for high-demand areas of student interest and regional industry need
- Recruiting minority-owned companies and career coaches from diverse backgrounds
Several organizations are working together to make sure that this happens. Those organizations include: Dane County School Consortium, Jefferson County School to Work Consortium, participating school districts throughout the seven-county region, Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin, Madison Region Economic Partnership and regional chambers of commerce among others.
When it comes to categorizing businesses and careers, employers tend to look at industries while educators tend to look at the 16 Career Clusters used in Wisconsin schools. Below you’ll find some data about the implementation that will help you understand how this is playing out:
8 Targeted Industries:
- Advanced Manufacturing
- Biotech/Life Sciences
- Construction Trades
- Information Technology
- Health Care
- F.I.R.E. (Finance, Insurance, Real Estate)
Top 8 industries represented by employer participation in Inspire Madison Region:
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
- Education Services
- Other services (Except Public Administration)
- Health Care and Social Assistance
- Finance and Insurance
If you’d like to help us connect with employers in the eight targeted industries please contact us!
In addition to industries, we are also working to make sure that all 16 Career Clusters are covered adequately so that all students can find information and opportunities. While we’ve got at least one employer from each cluster, that is not nearly enough. As we continue to recruit new employers and career coaches, we’re working with all of our partners to make sure we get adequate representation in all of the clusters. If you’d like to help us connect with employers in under-represented career clusters, please contact us!
|Career Cluster||Number of Employers||Percentage of Total|
|Business Management & Administration||32||13.62|
|Architecture & Construction||22||9.36|
|Science, Technology, Engineering & Math||21||8.94|
|Transportation, Distribution & Logistics||16||6.81|
|Arts, A/V Technology & Communications||13||5.53|
|Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources||11||4.68|
|Education & Training||8||3.4|
|Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security||7||2.98|
|Hospitality & Tourism||1||0.43|
|Government & Public Administration||1||0.43|
We also need to make sure that there are enough career coaches in each Career Cluster. Here are the numbers of Online Career Coaches that we have to date per Career Cluster:
|Career Cluster||Number of Coaches||Percentage of Total|
|Business Management & Administration||27||29.67|
|Education & Training||7||7.69|
|Arts, A/V Technology & Communications||6||6.59|
|Architecture & Construction||5||5.49|
|Science, Technology, Engineering & Math||5||5.49|
|Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security||4||4.4|
|Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources||4||4.4|
|Government & Public Administration||3||3.3|
|Hospitality & Tourism||1||1.1|
|Transportation, Distribution & Logistics||0||0|
We’re looking for feedback from educators about which Career Clusters they feel need more career coaches for their students. Contact us to let us know your ideas on that topic!
Editors note: Here in the Greater Madison Region, we are excited for the opportunities that Inspire Madison Region will bring to businesses, to educators and of course to students and their families. To provide an interesting example of what those opportunity might look like, we’re sharing this story with you from a school counselor in Sheboygan who has benefited from the connections he’s made in his area through Inspire Sheboygan County and the experience he’s gained as a result. Inspire Sheboygan County is entering its third year of successfully enabling connections between industry and education.
by Steve Schneider, School Counselor, Sheboygan South HS
My oldest daughter is home for the summer after her first year in college. She has a summer job at a local manufacturing facility, working hard (50+ hrs./week) to help pay for her education. What’s interesting to me is that when I would mention this to people, I would often hear in response, “Oh, that experience should really keep her motivated to stay in school now that she knows what the alternative is.” In fact, I’d heard it so often that a thought came to me. “I should get into some of these manufacturing facilities to see firsthand what these ‘dens of discontent’ that my very own child is working in are really like.”
So I put out the call through Inspire Sheboygan County. “High school counselor with some summer time on his hands, willing to come into your facility to learn what it is you do.” Pretty soon I had some takers. Kohler Company and Rockline Industries, both major players in the manufacturing community of Sheboygan County (well, actually, the world…but they are headquartered in Sheboygan County!) contacted me with a message of welcome. It didn’t take too long for them to put together a multiple day itinerary for me to follow to get an in-depth look into what makes it possible for them to produce their products.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as a result of these ventures of discovery. Is what people say true? Is a job in manufacturing really such a distressful situation that it’s used as the measurement against which a person would rather do anything else? Is it so bad that, in a panic, so many high school graduates go on to college, regardless of whether that is a well thought-out plan or not, as long as they don’t end up working in a factory?
Well, here’s what I found.
After spending hours watching and talking to Reliability Engineers, Machinists, Electrical Engineers, Planners and Schedulers, Pattern Makers, Team Leads, Mechanical Engineers, Technical Writers, Quality Engineers, Logistics Specialists, Process Improvement Engineers, Training Specialists, Human Resource Specialists, Product Line Operators, HVAC Specialists, and Plant Managers, a few themes became abundantly clear.
Every time I asked anyone about their job and role in the company (Kohler Co. or Rockline Ind.), the pride in their posture and voice came through with such conviction, I found myself thinking almost every time, “Wow! I would like to do this job.” Each person I spoke with, regardless of their role in the manufacturing process, understood the value of their position to the process as a whole.
On one of my days at Kohler Company, I was captivated by the stories I was hearing from one of the Pattern Makers who had been with the company for many, many years. He reminisced about the way he did his job years ago, and shared with me all the process improvements through the years that continue to make his job enjoyable and enriching. There wasn’t a trace of bitterness or regret as he talked about working hard each day to provide his contribution to the company.
Almost every conversation I had throughout my days at both companies was similar. It’s abundantly clear that these workers are all so proud of what they do. It made me wonder, “Does our community share that same sense of pride in our manufacturers? If not, why not?”
INDEPENDENT, YET INTRICATELY INTERDEPENDENT
If you’ve ever purchased a canister of disinfectant wipes, or taken a shower in a hotel, there’s a good chance you used a product that was manufactured at Rockline Ind. (wipes) or Kohler Co. (shower head). Like most of you, I never really thought much about what it takes to make products like that.
My visits to the facilities that make the magic happen were truly awe-inspiring (and I’m not being melodramatic, they really were!). It didn’t take long for me to realize that there are so many different people with unique skill sets required to make the manufacturing process happen efficiently, safely, and successfully. Whether it’s knowing the ins and outs of a particular machine, or the flow of raw materials, or chemical reactions, or federal regulations, or packaging design, or how to manage people, or how to diagnose problems from the feedback of an infrared camera, or how to properly connect all the electrical components of a new machine to make it run, or…, or…, or… Each of the individuals I met had a particular skill set and knowledge base that we can classify into independent categories (Electrical Engineer, Machinist, Technical Writer, etc.).
What struck me as remarkable was that, in a very complex way, each of these independent functions was dependent on every other function operating with efficiency and accuracy. If one area breaks down, the impact on the entire manufacturing process is significant. It’s the essence of teamwork. They need to trust that everyone is going to perform their duty and function in order to move the whole process forward.
I’m not sure my words can do justice to how astounding it is to look up and see hundred’s of heavy, black cast iron bathtubs hanging on hooks, lined up in perfect formation on a conveyor system, moving down the line to get enameled. Or how incredible it was to stand in a warehouse the size of 17 football fields that is fully packed with towers of stacked pallets of disinfectant wipes ready for delivery. No wonder each individual who contributes to the intricate process to produce these final products has a sense of pride and accomplishment.
INVESTMENT IN PERSONAL GROWTH
“Each day brings something different.” No matter who I spoke with, or what function they performed, this was a common response to my questions about a typical day for them. As hard as these companies work to tame and control the manufacturing process, it seems to remain illusively unpredictable. And because of this, it’s necessary that every associate has the skills, understanding, and insight not just for the specific task they perform, but the process as a whole, in order to bring things back into alignment.
In order to insure that the company is getting the full benefit of each associate, there is an incredible commitment to continued growth. It was very common to hear stories from associates about what they did for the company when they first started, and how they moved into their current positions through company-sponsored trainings, or going back to school utilizing the company’s tuition reimbursement offer (that’s a “scholarship” in high school student-speak). In fact, the majority of the people I spoke with shared that the company encouraged them to continue to gain new skills in order to continue to contribute to the process in a meaningful way. These companies understand that their associates will feel good about the work they are doing when they know they do it well. And so they invest heavily in continued education opportunities for the associates who desire to continue to learn. What an affirming culture to be part of!
As I reflect on my five day experience, I’m struck by the unexpected impact it had on me. I went in to the experience seeking to gain understanding. I came out not only with new insight into the complexity of the manufacturing process, but pleasantly surprised by a sense of pride in the Sheboygan community. I found that I get excited sharing with people what I saw and heard. Not just about the cool “stuff” I saw being made, but also the cool people I met who make it possible to have the cool stuff.
So, now I’m left with formulating my response to the attitude that the threat of working in manufacturing is an effective way to drive students to go to and stay in college. It’s true that the 4-year university pathway is appropriate for many students. Like many other young adults, my daughter will be going back to college this fall. Not because of her summer experience in manufacturing, but because she wants to work in Anthropology/Archeology. But for many of our recent high school grads and young adults, taking the 4-year college pathway is an expensive, deflating venture in self-discovery.
So to my students and families at Sheboygan South High School, I come better equipped to have more complete discussions about future plans. Yes, for some that is going to be finding the right 4-year college. But for the 45% of our graduates who do not go on to post-secondary education the fall after they graduate from high school, I can converse with great pride about some of the terrific opportunities they could consider. Opportunities where they can gain a sense of pride in their work, become a valued member of an awesome process, and continue to grow as an individual.