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Build a Relationship With the Educational Programs that Address Your Skills Needs
Besides seeking technical skills, today’s employers want workers who are problem solvers, critical thinkers, leaders and communicators. As you and your peers may well know, however, finding qualified candidates who also possess these soft skills can prove challenging. According to a survey conducted by Cengage in 2018, nearly three-quarters of employers have trouble finding workers with these skills, the most difficult being: critical thinking, listening, communication and interpersonal skills.
A common misconception about soft skills is that you’re either born with them, or you’re not. This simply isn’t true. All of the most in-demand soft skills can be developed with the proper education. By working with local employers to address these needs, Wisconsin’s technical colleges produce graduates who are valued for both their technical and their soft skills.
Mark Tyler, president of OEM  Fabricators, Inc., encourages employers who are struggling to find candidates with the necessary soft skills to consider forming a business/education partnership. “Work with the technical colleges to build a relationship that will lead to a supply of qualified employees with occupational skills and soft skills,” he advises.
Tyler serves on the boards of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment so he knows first-hand the challenges today’s employers face. “It takes time to build a pipeline of new team members and the fastest way to accomplish this is by building a relationship with the educational programs that address your skills needs.”
Your local technical college can also help build these skills within your current staff. You may have a talented group of employees when it comes to technical skills, but that doesn’t mean much for your overall success if they can’t work well together. Experienced training professionals will work with you to develop a customized training program for your employees. Contact the employee training contact person at your local technical college for more information.
“Soft skills are almost as crucial as hard skills in helping a company succeed and grow, and these missing skills are what is creating a workforce gap,” writes Beau Gellings, Economic and Workforce Business Representative at Moraine Park Technical College. “There are already enough challenges around time, specifications and budgets; don’t let soft skills prevent your organization from growing.” 
Wisconsin's 16 technical colleges serve every community in Wisconsin, providing learning opportunities close to home. The Wisconsin Technical College System offers more than 500 programs, awarding two-year associate degrees, one- and two-year technical diplomas, and short-term technical diplomas and certificates. The colleges also provide customized business solutions that help employers ensure a skilled incumbent workforce ready to improve processes or incorporate new technology. Visit www.wistechcolleges.org to explore all the benefits Wisconsin’s technical colleges have to offer.
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