WOW Workforce Development Board Initiatives

The WOW Workforce Development Board continues to capitalize on its opportunity to be the catalyst for developing new and innovative projects to serve businesses and residents of Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Washington Counties. To fulfill this goal, the WDB has shifted to a demand-driven workforce development system and is focused on its core mission and guiding principles as it relates to advancing the economic well-being of the region for employers, employees, and job seekers through various initiatives.

Current Initiatives:

Disability Employment Initiative

The WOW Workforce Development Board is participating in the Disability Employment Initiative pilot study with the overall purpose to promote a coordinated, integrated, and effective workforce system, to accommodate customers with disabilities by providing accessibility at the Workforce Development Centers, and to provide education and career pathways leading to employment and self-sufficiency.

The Disability Resource Coordinator works to:

Contact: Jennifer Aldrich, Disability Resource Coordinator / 262.695.7989 /


Mobile Lab

The WOW Workforce Development Board has been pursuing funders and making connections with possible partners in the hopes of securing funding for a mobile manufacturing lab. The WOW Workforce Development Board has attended several events and made presentations to help spread the word about this unique project. Similar to the Bay Area Workforce Development Board’s mobile lab, the proposed project would assist high schools in closing the manufacturing skills gap, provide hands-on learning opportunities for students, and create opportunities for re-branding the manufacturing industry as a clean, in-demand, and high-skill field. The proposed mobile lab would be a 44-foot, self-contained unit pulled by a 1-ton pick-up truck which could travel to multiple schools within the WOW workforce development area. The mobile lab would contain:

Schools would have the opportunity to use the mobile lab to augment or bring manufacturing classes to students at a lower cost than purchasing the cutting-edge equipment and software for each school. Additionally, the mobile lab has the capacity to change-out equipment to teach CNC machining, welding, or robotics.


Contact: Laura Catherman, Planner / 262.695.6574 /


Sector Convening

The WOW Workforce Development Board received $25,000 from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development for sector convening activities from May 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013. Based on current demand and labor market projections, the WOW Workforce Development Board is focusing on two sectors: healthcare and information technology.


Contact: Laura Catherman, Planner / 262.695.6574 /


Skills Wisconsin

Skills Wisconsin will reform the way that job seekers are attracted and matched to employment with emerging, expanding, and anchor businesses across the state while expanding technical training opportunities.

The WOW Workforce Development Board will utilize the Salesforce platform, a customized client relationship management tool, as a key tool within a reinvigorated, demand-driven workforce approach built upon a close and coordinated partnership among workforce development areas and regional economic development players.

Business Service staff will be trained in new demand-driven approaches to workforce services and deeper insights into targeted industries. This will strengthen partnerships between workforce staff from all eleven workforce development areas as well as the WEDC working in conjunction with 400+ economic development entities across the state.

This effort will enhance and expand Industry Partnerships and strengthen partnerships between staff from all eleven workforce development areas. The energized system and Industry Partnerships will work collaboratively with the Wisconsin Technical College System to develop expanded training models and new curricula.


Contact: Laura Catherman, Operations Manager / 262.695.6574 /


WIA Gold Standard

The WOW Workforce Development Board is one of 28 randomly selected local workforce investment areas in the nation participating in a “Gold Standard” evaluation of Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Adult and Dislocated Worker programs. WIA provides $3 billion annually for employment and training services to approximately 600 similar areas around the country. Thousands of workers and job seekers have benefitted from these services in the WOW WDA since the Act was passed in 1998, receiving skill assessment, career information and counseling, employability skills, resume help, occupational training, job seeking assistance, and more.

As part of this national evaluation, customers visiting the Workforce Development Center are randomly assigned to one of three research groups. Each research group has access to a different range of services. Everyone is able to access the basic services at the Workforce Development Center and the vast majority of customers are able to access all services available. Random assignment is used in this study because it is the most rigorous scientific approach and produces the most defensible findings.

The U.S. Department of Labor contracted with Mathematica Policy Research to conduct the Gold Standard evaluation. Mathematica is a nonpartisan policy research firm that conducts research and surveys for Federal and State governments, foundations, and private sector clients.

WDI staff participate in bi-weekly conference calls with the study liaison and are involved in several on-site monitoring visits.

Contact: Laura Catherman, Operations Manager / 262.695.6574 /