MADISON – Today, Governor Scott Walker announced the launch of WisConnect, a free, 24-hour online resource at http://InternshipWisconsin.com that matches employers seeking interns with college students seeking opportunities to apply classroom knowledge and build professional networks in Wisconsin.
The mobile-responsive and user-friendly website was developed by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to help Wisconsin employers create, market and find the best and brightest college talent for internship opportunities in the state. The site is open to all college students with an active .edu email address to create an account, upload their resume and search Wisconsin internship opportunities by geography, college major and more.
“Internships allow college students to put classroom learning into practice, build professional networks and gain an edge in the talent market through direct workplace experience,” Governor Walker said. “With the state unemployment rate at a near-historic low of 3.1 percent and more people employed in Wisconsin than ever before, Wisconsin employers can help meet their workforce needs by growing tomorrow’s talent today through internships. WisConnect provides an important tool to attract and retain college students here during and after graduation, which will support a strong Wisconsin workforce in the years to come.”
WisConnect makes it easy for employers to develop profiles and internship openings that market to college talent. Specific features for employers include:
- Employers with existing JobCenterofWisconsin.com profiles can use the same sign in information to access WisConnect; internship openings on JobCenterofWisconsin.com are automatically featured on WisConnect as well at no charge.
- Access to key resources and assets to start an internship program and post openings, including options to develop an advanced employer profile.
- Search for internship candidates by location, by major and by key skills and competencies.
Resources for college students include:
- Access vital resources on how to search, apply, interview and prepare for an internship position.
- Search employers by company name and search internship opportunities by location.
- Upload a resume, and other portfolio items such as references, cover letters and more to market themselves to potential employers.
- Future functionality to build an advanced profile by listing key skills, major(s), and be matched with potential internship opportunities through WisConnect’s state-of-the-art matching technology.
DWD is furnishing content on WisConnect in collaboration with education partners in the University of Wisconsin (UW) System, Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU) and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS). Education partners had the following to say about WisConnect:
President Ray Cross, University of Wisconsin System:
“Employers tell us they want and need more talent, and we must do all we can to point students towards an internship or other professional experience, which can be instrumental in retaining new graduates right here in Wisconsin,” says UW System President Ray Cross. “We partnered with DWD to launch the Career Connect website to connect employers with student talent on UW campuses. WisConnect is another important tool that helps bridge the gap between employers and the talent their businesses require to be successful. That’s a win-win for our graduates and the Wisconsin economy.”
President Rolf Wegenke, Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities:
“Internships help our students put their learning into practice and the WisConnect internship website will provide an even wider network of opportunity for our students. Today’s economy is interconnected and evolving and this effort will assist business meet its diverse workforce needs now and in the future. I am pleased that the WAICUCareerConnect.org website will be part of this one-stop, comprehensive tool.”
President Morna Foy, Wisconsin Technical College System:
“Our colleges’ unique ties to employers directly benefit our students and bolster economic development. Internships and other work experiences are a great way to sustain and strengthen those partnerships, and WisConnect will be a valuable tool.”
DWD Secretary Ray Allen thanked partners at the UW System, WAICU and WTCS, which co-hosted Workforce Alignment Workshops last fall and winter in Oshkosh, Platteville, Madison, Menomonie, Superior, Milwaukee and Stevens Point to discuss and seek ideas from employers, educators, students and other industry partners to expand collaborative opportunities including internships.
“The most common theme from employers was the desire for a single resource to find information and resources on starting internship programs and find potential candidates to fill internship openings,” Secretary Allen said. “WisConnect meets the demand for these services and more.”
WisConnect is made possible through 2015 Wisconsin Act 283, which Governor Walker signed as part of his college affordability package. The package included legislation authored by state Senator Howard Marklein of Spring Green and Representative Dave Murphy of Greenville to fund positions to increase the amount of internship opportunities available in Wisconsin and increase the amount of college students participating in internships with Wisconsin companies. Governor Walker thanked Senator Marklein, Representative Murphy and other legislative partners for their support of legislation to expand internships and grow Wisconsin’s talent pipeline.