The State of Working Wisconsin 2008 report documents economic growth in Wisconsin as "soft" resulting from job losses, higher unemployment and declining median incomes, but credits Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges for impacting the state’s workforce.
The Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) report indicates, ". . . Wisconsin’s associate degrees, especially our occupational associate degrees, offer a very strong pay-off for the workers who hold them."
According to the report, Wisconsin’s residents who hold occupational associate degrees from Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges have stronger earnings than their national counterparts, with a median income of $18.18 per hour. This is $1 higher than the national median and $2 more than it was two years prior.
"The economic and social contributions the technical colleges make to our state are immense. You can’t overstate the impact the colleges have on both personal earnings and the state’s economy. This is a critical point when considering where to invest our state’s limited dollars to get the best return," said Brent Smith, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board.
The report also touts ten percent of Wisconsin’s workforce holds an occupational associate degree, which is twice the national average and third nationally.
"Wisconsin’s reputation continues as having one of the premiere technical college systems in the country," said Dan Clancy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. "Wisconsin’s transition into a high-tech economy extends the demand for occupational associate degrees," Clancy said.
According to the report, there is a wealth of untapped potential in our state. The report cites a skilled worker shortage for many industries with a high number of individuals on the economic sidelines, neither engaged in education nor adequately skilled to fill these high-wage jobs. Earning potential can be dramatic in these industries, as occupational associate degree holders in Wisconsin earn 23 percent more than workers who ended their education with high school.
MATC’s Graduate Report 2008, a survey of students who received associate degrees and technical diplomas in 2008, revealed that 81% were employed. The average annual starting salary for students who received an associate degree was $35,582.30, while those who earned a technical diploma reported an average annual starting salary of $28,904.98.
"MATC graduates are sought after," said MATC President Darnell E. Cole. "They bring job-ready skills to their chosen fields and hit the ground running. Local employers continually look to MATC graduates to fill their need for technical professionals. Our degree and diploma programs offer the skills and training local businesses demand."
The Wisconsin Technical College System has 16 technical college districts throughout Wisconsin, which offer more than 300 programs awarding two-year associate degrees, one and two year technical diplomas, and short-term technical diplomas. In addition, the System is the major provider of customized training and technical assistance to Wisconsin’s business and industry community. More than half of all adults in Wisconsin have accessed the technical colleges for education and training. Find more about educational programs at www.witechcolleges.org.
The COWS report can be found at www.cows.org/soww.