A yearlong study has laid out a plan to help bring the skills of Wisconsin workers in line with the needs of state employers.

The study, conducted by Competitive Wisconsin Inc., in partnership with ManpowerGroup, came up with strategies and recommendations spelled out in "Be Bold 2: Growing Wisconsin's Talent Pool."

"Our work makes clear that talent development cannot be a spectator sport," Linda Salchenberger, Marquette University associate provost for strategic planning and co-chair of the Be Bold 2 study, said in a statement. "Counselors, employers and workers must all participate in strengthening local economic capacity and building better communities," she said.

The study stresses the need for immediate action to link economic development to the training of potential workers and boost real-time information about jobs and the skills they require.

"All of our research and hundreds of discussions with employers, workers and educators underscore the fact that Wisconsin needs to move quickly and boldly," said Scott VanderSanden, president of AT&T Wisconsin and president of CWI. "We need to let our employers and the rest of the world know that Wisconsin understands the future of work and will have the talent they need, when they need it," he said.

As part of an eight-point plan to achieve that goal, the study recommends the formation of a Governor's Talent Development and Acquisition Council that would oversee a proposed $100 million fund.

The money, which would come from the state budget, would be used to implement the report's recommendations.

Other recommendations include the development of a mobile application that provides job information and support for internships and apprenticeships to help bring young people into the workforce.

From an educational standpoint, the most valuable information in the report is data on the shortage of workers in areas such as nursing, teaching, mechanical engineering and accounting, said David Giroux, chief spokesman for the UW System.

"We're really pleased to see the deep analysis of the short-term and long-term skills gap," Giroux said. "It's about programs needed to sustain us over the next 20 years."

The $300,000 study, which followed up on the 2010 "Be Bold Wisconsin" study, was funded by grants from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the Bradley Foundation and corporate donations.

The report is available at www.competitivewi.com.

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