Precision Plus’ President Mike Reader Speaks at The Economic Forum Presented by the La Crosse Area Development Corporation
Mike Reader, President of Precision Plus of Elkhorn Wisconsin was invited to speak at The Economic Forum presented by the La Crosse Area Development Corporation (LADCO) on Thursday, October 8, 2015. The presentation was entitled “Workforce Development Challenges & Strategies,” addressing tangible steps for manufacturers to take to help tackle workforce challenges.
The October 8th event also featured Ann Franz from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, and Mark Kaiser from Lindquist Machine Corporation, both representing the NEW Manufacturing Alliance (NMA) of Northeast Wisconsin. James Hill of LADCO moderated the forum.
All three presenters addressed two common threads: how to raise industry and career awareness, and how to promote collaboration between sectors.
The NMA represents a group of manufacturers who work with educators, workforce developers, chambers of commerce and state organizations to promote manufacturing in Northeast Wisconsin. Franz and Kaiser explained how the organization makes available valuable resources through their outreach program, listing manufacturers who regularly offer plant tours, have representatives who can speak about the industry and career opportunities, offer college internships, job shadowing, mentoring, and youth apprenticeships. In addition, the organization makes available to educators a number of tools to deploy in the classroom, and prospective employees a model pathway for shaping their careers.
Reader recounted his own personal journey to turn the skills gap tables, when he “stopped complaining” and began reaching out to educators, legislators, associations and fellow manufacturers, while organizing career panels, plant tours for students and parents, participating in career fairs, and hiring a dedicated individual to undertake the outreach efforts on a full-time basis. He also established internships and apprenticeships, created scholarships, crafted tuition reimbursement programs, joined career and technical education (CTE) committees, and invested in local education—efforts which, along the way, have nurtured individuals who now make Precision Plus their employer.
LADCO businesses attending the forum, walked away with a wealth of executable ideas. La Crosse, WI is a key city in Western Wisconsin located along the Mississippi River, in what is called the “Coulee Region Business Center,” ideally located to serve the tri-state area of Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. LADCO is an organization that strives to promote and retain business in the area, offering an array of business related programs throughout the year.