Lakeland University Blog

New Lakeland initiative targets SE Wisconsin talent development

New Lakeland initiative targets SE Wisconsin talent development


New Lakeland initiative targets SE Wisconsin talent development

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Lakeland University launched a new initiative this week to connect practitioners within Southeastern Wisconsin to join a solutions-focused conversation about talent development and the realities of the state’s current and projected labor market participation.

Talent Strategies Network, A Lakeland Initiative, held its inaugural event Wednesday at LU’s Milwaukee Center at 9000 W. Chester St. Dennis Winters, chief economist with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, detailed the state’s labor market outlook in the first of an ongoing speaker series offered by Lakeland.

Talent Strategies Network, A Lakeland Initiative will connect Southeastern Wisconsin practitioners, influencers, service providers, educators, counselors, strategists, philanthropists, employers and others around a focused conversation designed to enhance talent development practices and increase future participation in Wisconsin’s labor force.

The ensuing conversations will provide greater access to career opportunities for students and job seekers, create an expanded talent pool for employers and build non-traditional pathways to higher education so individuals can continually pursue additional skill sets, credentials and degrees based on their needs.

The Talent Strategies Network is initially funded by a grant from Bader Philanthropies.

Lakeland President Beth Borgen said this new initiative grew out of Lakeland’s Milwaukee Co-Op year, which provides students the opportunity to take tuition-free courses for one year at Lakeland, earn college credits by working through LU’s Cooperative Education program and develop a plan for their future.

“In discussing ways we could improve results for both our students and the regional employer network, we concluded that building a practitioner community to better serve and recruit our Milwaukee Co-Op year students would provide more opportunity to non-traditional students who may not be ready for a traditional college program immediately upon high school graduation,” Borgen said.

“Lakeland can best serve our communities through applying our talents and assets to certain talent development activities offered to a practitioner-based network.”

Scott Jansen serves as program director for Talent Strategies Network, A Lakeland Initiative. Jansen formerly served as Department of Workforce Development Employment & Training division administrator, GMC Talent Dividend network director, Wisconsin Fast Forward creator as well as a core team member and talent advisor for the M7, HERA and the MKE Tech Hub Coalition.

“This conversation will focus on the amplification of inclusive talent development strategies and initiatives to ensure that all youth and young adults understand education options and skill development career pathways that lead to participation in Wisconsin’s labor market,” Jansen said.

Lakeland’s ongoing speaker series – the next event is scheduled for February 15 at LU’s Milwaukee Center - will equip participants with the tools and information they need to navigate resources and data and provide guidance for those who work with young people entering the workforce. The featured speaker is Tom Walsh, regional labor economist with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Talent Strategies Network, A Lakeland Initiative is open to all community stakeholders at no cost. For more information or to join the conversation directly, contact Scott Jansen at

Borgen said creation of the network is a natural for Lakeland given LU’s unique Cooperative Education identity, the university’s state-wide presence, K12 and tech college partnerships and 40-plus year commitment to lifelong learning.

“Lakeland’s 160-year history is filled with examples of innovative solutions to challenges, and the Talent Strategies Network allows us to expand our efforts in Milwaukee to continue to help prospective students and employers,” said Borgen, noting that Lakeland has offered classes in Milwaukee since 1978.

“Scott is a tremendous resource with a long track record of successfully building networks that benefit the community. We are excited to have him as part of our Lakeland team.”

Last month, Wisconsin Policy Forum released findings indicating that practitioners have difficulty connecting with others to best utilize existing resources despite the multitude of commendable programming efforts currently in place.

“Framing a comprehensive, inclusive and demand-driven conversation around non-traditional approaches and pathways for creating talent allows for Lakeland University network practitioners to build solutions that expand the labor market participation rate in Wisconsin,” Jansen said.

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