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UW-Milwaukee - Center for Economic Development

Technical Assistance Report Abstract

Model Development in the "Workforce Connections" Project, September 1997, by Marc V. Levine and Pamela S. Fendt


In July 1996, the United States Department of Labor funded an employment training and job placement demonstration project for dislocated workers within Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington counties:

Workforce Connections

Designed primarily by a group of job training and placement professionals from the region, Workforce Connections was based on the premise that "current employment training models are not sufficient, especially in promoting reemployment of dislocated workers in high wage employment sectors" (WCTC, 1996, 2). Thus, the project proposed development of a new training and placement model. At the core of this model was sectoral targeting or "cluster-based" economic development strategies. Labor market research would "target" high-wage sectors, or clusters of industries, in which employment prospects might exist for dislocated workers. Business associations and labor organizations from these targeted sectors would then be organized to help identify specific placement opportunities in regional businesses and work closely with training delivery systems to improve the placement of dislocated workers in jobs in these sectors. As the proposal put it: "The goal of this effort is to create a new institutional infrastructure with business associations that link high wage employment to dislocated workers. In addition, a goal of this demonstration project is to replicate this program in other Job Center programs throughout the region" (WCTC, 1996, 2).

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Economic Development (UWMCED) was contracted by the project to:

  1. specify the components of the project model; and
  2. assess the replicability of the model as an approach for successful dislocated worker job placement.

The following report provides an interim analysis of the "model development" activities and outcomes connected to the Workforce Connections project. The major part of this interim report will be focused on "creation" of the project model, since this aspect of the project is well underway. Assessment of the "replicability" of the model must, by necessity, await conclusion of the project's proposed activities. At this stage, any conclusions offered on model replicability must be preliminary and tentative, based on fragmentary data (i.e. the first 12 months of the project operations). However, this report does provide some interim analysis of how the model has functioned, through 8/31/97, during the implementation phase of the project.

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