Employers consistently look to technical college grads to fill their needs

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By Erin Eagan


The demand for middle skills workers in Wisconsin has been well documented in the last decade, as industries such as manufacturing, health care and IT are in dire need of skilled workers to fill open positions. To fill these vacancies, employers are scooping up local technical college graduates as fast as they can, knowing they come highly skilled and ready to hit the ground running on day one.

These graduates are highly sought after because Wisconsin’s technical colleges have developed close partnerships with local businesses and industry representatives. They work together to help guide each career program, making sure the curriculum includes the necessary skills that today’s employers require.

“Technology changes so fast that you have to keep up with it,” explains Jeff Steinweber, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture. “So we interact with [our technical college] to cater the curriculum to what we as a business need for the skill set.”

Working together, employers know they’re going to get qualified workers in Wisconsin’s technical college graduates. In fact, 95 percent of employers surveyed say they would hire tech college graduates again.

One such company, Inland Packaging has a strong record of hiring technical college graduates. “We’ve been pleased with the skills, drive and overall ability of many of our hires,” says Mike Skroch, Vice President of Human Resources, Inland Packaging. “We’ve seen them grow and progress into higher-level roles within the organization, taking on large projects and having a wide-range of responsibilities.”

Agriculture is another industry that isn’t immune to worker shortage. With locations statewide, Frontier Ag and Turf works closely with technical colleges as their needs evolve. The company knows keeping those communication lines open is beneficial to their operation and the Wisconsin agriculture industry as a whole.

“In my present position, I’ve sat down with the instructors locally here, several different times, and have had conversations about what we’re looking for out of employees,” says Charles Strabel, Parts Manager of Frontier Ag and Turf. “If we didn’t have technical colleges educating our employees and bringing them into the workforce, we’re behind the eight ball then. We need those educated, talented people to progress our businesses and ag is a big part of Wisconsin.”

Employers and technical colleges have a proven partnership in developing middle skills talent to fill vacancies. Companies can increase output growth more quickly, and graduates enter high-paying, rewarding careers. It’s a win-win.