Skills Wisconsin Initiative

Project Overview

Skills Wisconsin is a U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund project that was awarded in 2012 to the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin on behalf of the Wisconsin's 11 workforce development boards. The project, which ended in 2016, aimed to transform how Wisconsin's workforce system engages with businesses to match workers looking for a job with businesses looking for workers, resulting in better outcomes for workers, businesses and the programs that serve both.

Skills Wisconsin cloud with blue Wisconsin

Project Objectives

The 4-year initiative served as a catalyst for new partnerships, processes, workflows and tools to create a truly demand-driven workforce system. Specifically, the project's intent was to create:

  • A demand-driven system: Reforming the workforce system to view business as the customer
  • Process reengineering: Reengineering the workflow resulting in improved business outreach, assessment and coordinated business client management
  • Tools: Implementing tools, including a customized Salesforce platform, to better serve business clients of the workforce system
  • Partnerships: Increasing collaboration between workforce and economic development professionals and to develop and expand industry and sector partnerships
  • Skill Training: Developing new curricula in conjunction with Wisconsin Technical College System and delivering customized skill training to meet immediate, specific industry needs

Business Solutions

The Wisconsin Workforce Development Association (WWDA), the state association of the 11 Wisconsin Workforce Development Boards, in partnership with the Department of Workforce Development, developed statewide professional development training program for Business Solutions staff. The training program is just one component of the Wisconsin's Business Solutions effort that includes the Collabor8 Summit, the implementation of the Skills Wisconsin Salesforce platform, and the growing emphasis on local business solutions teams.

The Wisconsin Business Services Training program was planned in an effort to build a foundation of Business Solutions skills and knowledge the state and local workforce areas can build on. The WWDA contracted with Thomas P. Miller & Associates (TPMA) to work with Wisconsin to develop a curriculum for the training. The final curriculum incorporated national best practices in addition to local input customized to fit Wisconsin needs. To this effort, TPMA, working in concert with Wisconsin leadership, worked to develop a survey of current Wisconsin Business Services personnel in an effort to better understand content and curriculum needed within the training program. Click here for WI-BST Survey Summary Final results.

Project Partners

The initiative allowed for stronger partnerships amongst local and State workforce and education entities including:


Additional Project Partners

Launchpad Co. served as the project's implementation partner, providing staff orientation and training on the demand-driven system and customizing the Skills Wisconsin Salesforce tools to meet Wisconsin’s needs.
IMPAQ International served as the evaluation partner, engaging with the partners from the start of the project and conducting a robust three-part evaluation:

  • Impact evaluation to estimate the effects of the Salesforce tool
  • Process evaluation to assess how implementation affect the stakeholders; and,
  • Outcomes evaluation to document progress of implementation on key dimensions

Final Reports

Employer Survey 2013

Skills Wisconsin Resources

Skills Wisconsin Fact Sheet - Overview (PDF 232KB)

Skills Wisconsin Fact Sheet for Workforce Development Boards (PDF 104KB)

U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund (html)

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