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Manufacturers: “Missed opportunity” not addressing workforce shortage

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The state's largest business association is concerned lawmakers are not addressing a workforce shortage.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce CEO Kurt Bauer was disappointed Governor Evers did not discuss solutions on how to bring more workers to the state during his state of the state address Wednesday.

Earlier in the week Bauer wrote in a column about the dire need for workers and said if it doesn’t get attention from lawmakers soon, it could result in “significant consequences.”

“Businesses can’t find the workers, they can’t bring them in, then there going to move jobs where they are,” Bauer told 27 News.

The most recent survey conducted by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce shows 75 percent of private-sector employers are having trouble finding workers. Since 2015, the survey shows at least two-thirds of employers having challenges finding the workers they need.

The shortage is a result of low birth rates, lack of immigrants, migrants, and fewer people want to move according to Bauer.

"Americans are the least mobile they've been since 1940, but people will move if there economic opportunity if there's a great place to raise a family -- Wisconsin is all that and more, we just have to tell that story," he said.

Some solutions WMC support is funding talent attraction, using ad campaigns to lure out of people out of state to relocate.

The Governor and Republican leaders have called for action on the state’s workforce needs, but so far there’s only been a few proposals introduced in the legislature. 

You can watch the full interview with Kurt Bauer on Capital City Sunday at 9 a.m.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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