Economic/Workforce Development

Economic Development


Issue #1: Workforce Training & Retention Pipeline

Data: According to a 2022 US Chamber of Commerce report

- Wisconsin Worker shortage crisis is considered “More Severe”

- Wisconsin has 58 workers for every 100 job openings

- 221,000 Job openings

- 102,116 unemployed workers

The statewide data is staggering and we know rural communities often lack the resources to adequately address the workforce training skills, upskills and retention gaps. We support additional resources for colleges and universities to expand their capacity and build upon proven strategies that successfully move students through programs aligned to address the workforce shortage. Expanding capacity and by meeting the growing demands that are needed to build a talented workforce with industry-aligned skills, is necessary for long term success.


Issue #2: Housing Development


Data: According to WHEDA, the shortage of affordable workforce housing in rural Wisconsin poses far-reaching challenges. Access to safe, affordable shelter is fundamental to the sustainability of our communities because housing provides a foundation for public health, economic well-being and environmental stewardship. If Wisconsin is to thrive, rural communities require effective tools and support to develop greater workforce housing.


Without stable, decent quality affordable homes near jobs it is harder and harder to recruit and retain talent especially in the Northern region of the state. The shortage of workforce housing makes it incredibly difficult for businesses to sustain themselves, muchless grow. Employers struggle to recruit and retain workers due to lack of housing and it is a detriment to our economic sustainability. We support access to public/private partnerships, the ability to incentivize developers through tax incentives and grants and incentives that will spur investment in the region.


Issue #3 Certification and Licensing Backlogs

Data: Over the last decade, new license applications to the agency have more than doubled and the department has not managed to keep up with the backlog. The increase in license applications and inefficiencies within DSPS have caused severe delays in professional licensure across the state. These delays particularly impact social services, healthcare, mental health professionals and other professional occupations getting through the licensing process in a timely manner.


We support a number of legislative Bill recommendations from the 2022 Legislative Study Committee on Occupational Licensing. The passing and signing of the Bills are required in order to relieve the agency backlog and to process licensure applications in a more timely manner.


-LRB-0450/P3, relating to renewal dates and continuing education requirements for certain  credentials issued by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) and credentialing boards.

-LRB-0364/P3, relating to renewals of certain credentials.

-LRB-0363/P5, relating to investigations of conviction records by DSPS for purposes of determining eligibility for credentials.

-LRB-0462/P4, relating to requiring DSPS to post certain credential information on its website.

-LRB-0401/P3, relating to practice of certain professions by credential holders from other states.

-LRB-0367/P4, relating to preliminary credentials granted to previously unlicensed individuals.

-LRB-0838/P1, relating to ratification of the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology Interstate Compact.

-LRB-0837/P1, relating to ratification of the Counseling Compact.

-LRB-0365/P4, relating to biennial report on various metrics related to the issuance of occupational credentials.

-LRB-0467/P4, relating to publication of credential metrics.

-LRB-0366/P4, relating to procedures and deadlines for the issuance of initial credentials by DSPS and attached credentialing boards.

-LRB-0465/P3, relating to reciprocal credentials and granting rulemaking authority.

-LRB-0470/P2, relating to the Joint Review Committee on Occupational Credentials.

-LRB-0466/P2, relating to the Joint Review Committee on Occupational Credentials and periodic review of occupational credentials.