Job Training Gets A Boost
November 8, 2010 9:40 AM
One bright spot in Tuesday's election was overwhelming approval of the referendum allowing Madison College (MATC) to move forward with substantial investments in campus improvements.
In a recession, workers flood into technical colleges to retrain for new opportunities. As a result, Madison College is bursting at the seams, and now they have the go ahead for campus expansions for training programs in health care, green manufacturing, transportation and police, fire and emergency medical services. And the construction itself will put about 2,400 people to work.
We need to work with the college on the police training portion of that because the city is building its own state-of-the art facility, and we should be able to partner on this. There's no reason to duplicate services, and if we can partner maybe the college can bring in the total cost below the $133 million authorized.
It has been estimated that if worker training matched available jobs our national unemployment rate would be about 6% instead of 9.6%. Too many jobs still go unfilled because of a poor match between skill sets needed and worker training. This kind of investment will help bridge that gap.
I'm proud that Madison voters played a major role in getting this approved. Almost three-quarters of the voters in the district live in Dane County and 63% of us voted yes. It speaks to how much we value education in our community, and education pays off. It turns out that getting smarter is the smartest thing we can do for economic development.