Inspire Washington County is an innovative cross-sector partnership that unites educators and employers across Washington County, Wisconsin.
Our program aims to address career and life-ready skills gaps, establish a talent pipeline for local businesses, and build awareness of career and employment opportunities in Washington County. Inspire Washington County engages and informs local students about the career, vocational training, and educational options available to them, linking today’s employers with tomorrow’s workforce.
In 2012, Moraine Park Technical College surveyed employers in Washington County to better understand workforce issues, particularly the impending retirements of the Baby Boom generation. Washington County employers expressed concern about the future workforce given the large number of anticipated retirements in the near-term 3-5 years. In addition, many employers were experiencing a shortage of work-ready candidates as they were hiring to support the economic recovery that was then underway.
The Washington County Workforce Alliance was formed to develop strategies to address these issues. Members of the Washington County Workforce Alliance included business and economic leaders, K-12 school district administrators, HR professionals, and other community stakeholders.
Over the last few years, United Way of Washington County (a member of the Washington County Workforce Alliance) held a number of county-wide Community Conversations to identify urgent and emerging community needs and priorities. Based on the overwhelming consensus of the participants, the United Way of Washington County publicly committed to address employment-related issues. It is important to note that United Way of Washington County is bound by its own set of policies and by-laws in regards to partnering with agencies and organizations outside of Washington County. Focus groups comprised of local HR professionals identified gaps in work-readiness competencies as United Way's primary focus area.