Update on MMAC’s public policy for education

We’ve all heard the complaint: our economy needs more skilled workers, particularly in the technical and vocational trades. One of the factors contributing to that challenge is a serious shortage of individuals at the K-12 level with the skills to teach vocational subjects. If teachers are not available to introduce students to these fields of study, students are not exposed to these fields in their early education and it is unlikely that they will consider them as viable careers after they graduate.
Licenses based on real-life experiences
This year, MMAC worked to help address this leak in our “talent pipeline” by creating a new class of “experience-based” teacher licenses for individuals with real life experience in technical and vocational fields.Terri Phillips, executive director of the Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance, explained the need for these changes before the Assembly’s Education Committee. “Our [school] districts have had great success finding mid-career professionals who are seeking
an opportunity to teach their skills to students in the classroom…Because these candidates are still connected with the working world, there are more opportunities for internships, apprenticeships and other real life experiences.”However, Phillips noted, “The current path to [teacher] licensure is expensive, long and too much to ask of a professional. Some of the licensure requirements are often irrelevant to what our teachers really need to know.”Alternative path to the classroom
By creating an alternative path to the classroom for these professionals in technical fields, our legislative efforts are already paying dividends for schools and for teachers like Craig Griffie, a technology education teacher at Brown Deer Middle/High School.“Now that I have the Experience Based Tech Ed teaching license, and no longer need to take night classes that have no application to my classroom, I actually have the time to advance my curriculum and to network with local businesses in the Brown Deer community,” said Griffie. “This means that my students have the attention of more of my non-teaching hours, so our projects are more rigorous and the learning is richer.”

We are grateful for the leadership of Governor Walker and state Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and state Representative Dan Knodl (R-Germantown), the Legislative co-authors of these measures.

Benefits for Employers & Career Coaches

Engage students. Expose them to real-world careers. Find your future workforce.

Employers play a critical role in new approaches to closing the skills gap. GROW HERE creates powerful career development connections by bringing industry and education together to help students discover careers. GROW HERE is designed to dramatically increase career-based learning in the Milwaukee Region and drive young people to careers in high-potential growth industries.

GROW HERE connects businesses and students through quality career-based learning experiences by facilitating partnerships between school districts and companies.

Career-based learning experiences help young people connect what they are learning in academic settings to the real world and practice navigating today’s workplace expectations. Career-based learning is also a low-risk way for young people and companies to “test drive” a potential employment match, and in many cases can lead to direct employment.

Using the Inspire web platform, GROW HERE companies, students K-16 and their influencers (parents, teachers, guidance counselors) form partnerships for career-based learning. Inspire provides a central hub where area students and educators can actively interact with local employers and career coaches.

Employers post company profiles that students can browse and learn about career opportunities and jobs in their areas of interest. Employers can also offer work-based learning experiences to increase student engagement, such as internships, job shadowing, tours or career mentoring. More than 40,000 students currently have access to Inspire and the number continues to grow!

Experiences Count. Career-based experiences offered by businesses across a learning continuum help attract, develop and retain young people ages 11-24 in area middle and high schools, technical colleges and universities. Career-based learning doesn’t end when someone graduates or is hired. GROW HERE’s career-based learning continuum continues into the workplace, including onboarding, mentoring and on-the-job skills development.

The GROW HERE Campaign is open to any company in any industry or sector that is registered on the M7 Talent Partnership’s Inspire web platform and willing to partner with schools/training programs to provide career-based learning experiences for young people ages 11-24. GROW HERE partners are a research cohort, sharing best practices and measuring the impact that high-quality, career-based learning experiences have on talent metrics and employment. The campaign will measure the impact of at least 200 companies agreeing to track and share GROW HERE talent pipeline metrics.

GROW HERE benefits employers by:

  • Getting in front of young people and their influencers earlier
  • Offering a low-risk way for companies and young people to “test drive” a potential employment match
  • Providing access to a pool of skilled and motivated potential employees
  • Facilitating work-readiness that can reduce training/recruiting costs of new employees
  • Generating positive publicity for careers in industries like manufacturing, engineering and technology
  • Promote careers that are available in Southeast Wisconsin and help students realize the opportunities in their own community
  • Expand your recruiting pool for summer job/intern programs and entry-level positions
  • Bridge the skills gap of students coming out of high school by communicating what the real world work needs



Enroll your company today to create an employer profile and start attracting your future talent. Or sign up to be an online mentor/career coach in a particular field of study.

Through your company profile, you can connect with students and share information about the work your employees do and the skills they need. You can also provide coaching and career-based activities to help students learn first-hand about career options and education pathways.

Set up a Company Profile – You can set up and maintain a company profile to describe your business, highlight your unique attributes, and communicate your areas of need to future employees as well as parents and educators.

Become a Career Coach – By spending less than an hour per week, you can share your experience and advice by answering company and career-related questions from students through system-wide message boards.

Offer Career-based Learning Activities – Engage directly with students and schools though a variety of career-based learning activities by offering company tours, classroom presentations, internships, job shadows and apprenticeships.

GROW HERE’s Inspire web platform provides a central hub where area students and educators can actively interact with local employers and career coaches. By creating a company profile on Inspire, you can improve your company’s local talent pipeline by connecting with students, their parents and educators to inform them about your company’s and industry’s career opportunities. Employers that take part can also offer career-based learning experiences through the Inspire platform, such as internships, company tours and job shadowing.

You can also volunteer to become a Career Coach. By spending less than an hour per week, you can share your experience and advice with students by contributing to mediated, threaded discussions online.


Benefits for Career Coaches:


  • Give back to your community by helping local youth reach their full career potential
  • Enhance your own professional development through interaction with diverse populations and development of critical skills
  • Bridge the skills gap of students coming out of high school by communicating what the real world needs
  • Expand your own professional network as you interact with other like-minded professionals during community partner meetings

>Check out our Employer & Career Coach FAQs for more information.

Benefits for Educators

Help your students build their career plans by becoming a GROW HERE partner.

Connect students with employers and career learning opportunities through Inspire –  a web-based tool, accessed through Career Cruising, for educators to engage students in thinking about their careers, find relevance in what they are learning in the classroom and increase students’ career readiness.


How does the program work?

Inspire is an add-on platform to the Career Cruising system and provides a customized information-sharing and resource-gathering environment where students can:

  • Learn about area companies that offer jobs and careers in their area of interest
  • Participate in career discussions with an online career coach from that company
  • Further interact with that company by participating in other career-based learning experiences, such as job shadowing, internships, company tours and summer employment
How can educators participate?

In order to add Inspire, your school must have an active account with Career Cruising and your district must reside in one of the following counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington, Racine, Kenosha or Walworth.

If you or your school are interested in participating in Inspire and meet the above requirements, please contact us.

Please reference our Educator FAQs for more information.

Please refer to our Educator Readiness Self Check List below and Education Partner Readiness Guide for additional support.

Educator Self Check List

Readiness indicators that need to be met in order to gain access to Inspire:

  • Agree to become a GROW HERE partner.  This means that your organization will develop partnerships with GROW HERE business partners whenever possible and appropriate.
  • Currently holds a Career Cruising license for your school or district.
  • Will invite current business partners to an Inspire/GROW HERE demo and Partnership Building Workshop.
  • Agree to invite your current business partners to utilize Inspire as the way to engage with and provide career-based learning experiences to your students.
  • Appoint a lead contact and at least one Inspire coordinator for each school/building.
  • Additional readiness indicators that will be assessed with recommendations for support if needed:
  • Support from administration and staff for your Inspire implementation
  • Staff time/position allocated to develop and maintain relationships with employers
  • Strong implementation plan that aligns with other organizational programs initiatives (academic and career planning, career and technical education, etc.)
  • Special considerations and preparation for special needs and at-risk youth
  • Appropriate liability practices and procedures