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Shortage of qualified manufacturing, construction workers

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Construction workers are seen on the job building a shopping center complex in Solana Beach, California January 6, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Construction workers are seen on the job building a shopping center complex in Solana Beach, California January 6, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News) As the economy improves, many parts of Wisconsin are in need of qualified builders and skilled manufacturing employees.  Those companies often look to the state's apprenticeship program to fill their needs -- but the apprenticeship pool has gotten smaller.  State officials said there were almost 9,800 apprenticeships in the various building trades last year -- down from almost 16,000 in 2001.  

The Wisconsin State Journal said it has become more of a challenge to get young people to consider apprenticeships, despite the need for skilled workers.  Madison electrical contractor Mike Pohlman said his company does a lot of outreach to schools -- and some schools don't seem to want to direct students to the building trades.  Madison College apprenticeship manager Jim Cook the situation has improved in Dane County because of a recent construction boom.  He says the demand for apprentice services has not been this strong since World War Two.

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