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Talent Development Initiative aids economy

November 21, 2014

As the state’s largest developer of human potential, the UW System is in a unique position to help grow a stronger Wisconsin economy, President Ray Cross told the UW Board of Regents Thursday.

“We are part of the solution,” Cross said, adding that the UW System must “take the lead with our partners in the legislature and the private sector to do what is necessary to fully implement the Talent Development Initiative and address the challenges.”

The Talent Development Initiative, first introduced to the Board in August, is a vision for how the UW System can align its resources in three critical areas — the talent path, the talent infrastructure, and the talent-based economy — to better meet the current and future needs of the state’s employers.

Wisconsin is facing an unprecedented “flattening” of its workforce in coming years as the state’s population becomes increasingly older, according to Todd Berry, president of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance. Leading a presentation on demographic trends, Berry told Regents the result will be a smaller workforce that must increase its overall productivity for the state’s economy to grow.

“We need alignment of workforce and economic development and education, pre- and post- secondary education, to the specific demands and needs of business and entrepreneurs in Wisconsin. We want to incentivize that behavior across the state,” Newton said.

Over the next decade, the projects with the highest-demand occupations for degree-holders will be in healthcare, education, computer analysis, accounting, marketing, and managerial professions.