Labor Shortage Workshop

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

Sept. 14, 1996

Wisconsin Labor Shortage Conference Set

An examination of employer, worker and community responses to tight labor markets and low wage labor in western Wisconsin will be offered to citizens and small town officials as part of a workshop at UW-RF.

The current labor market conditions of 15 counties in Wisconsin will be the focus of a presentation by Professor Gary Green of the UW-Madison rural sociology department on Friday, Sept. 27, at 9 a.m. in the Yellow Room at Rodli Commons.

The topics Green will discuss include: factors and symptoms of the labor shortage, characteristics of the firms facing difficulty, jobs in the greatest demand, responses from residents and employers, and short-term strategies available to communities and employers.

Western Wisconsin counties includes in the survey are Barron, Burnett, Douglas, Pierce, and St. Croix. For his presentation, Green has collected data from employers and workers through face-to-face and telephone interviews from more than 700 employers, with at least 50 from each county.

Information he will discuss from these interviews includes hiring practices and problems, wages for various positions in companies, hiring and training needs, evaluations of the local business climate, characteristics of their business establishment, and other issues regarding skills and education needed in the workplace.

Green gathered his data on labor supply from phone interviews of a random sample of 300-500 households in each county, with over 6,000 surveys.

The household surveys focus on labor force characteristics, obstacles to job search and training, work history, and individual/family characteristics.

Green has also collected data on the institutional forces affecting the local labor market as well.

Other presentations in the day-long workshop include:

"Understanding the Labor Force," by Professor Larry Swain, community development specialist, UW-RF Cooperative Extension. Swain will provide an opportunity to explore people styles to maximize the effectiveness of a workforce.

"Living With the Labor Crunch," by Paul Tabor, labor market analyst, Eau Claire Job Center. Tabor will give an overview of the Department of Labor Standards market analysis and forecast for the future.

"Business/Industry/Trainer Responses to the Labor Shortage." A panel representing area employers, the vocational-technical training system and temporary placement agencies will provide a profile of the current available and trained labor force, employer needs and concerns.

The workshop will be offered from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the fee is $45, which includes learning materials, refreshments and lunch. The fee for a second person to attend from the same community organization or business is $20. The deadline to register is Sept. 20.

This workshop is co-sponsored by UW-RF Continuing Education Extension, UW Cooperative Extension, and St. Croix Valley Employers Association. For more information, call 715/425-3256.

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