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As I See It

Private sector may be better able to address labor shortage

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Wisconsin state government has spent a lot of time debating how to address issues related to unemployment and a worker shortage. Lawmakers added a requirement that the unemployed search for work while out of a job and are considering punishing those who don’t try hard enough to find one. They may punish those who apply for a job but skip out on the interview because they don’t really want to work. And they are to vote next week on bringing an early end to the increased unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, Governor Evers is calling for spending $15 million to repair the state’s unemployment system, which was exposed as outdated and was overwhelmed when the pandemic first hit. That idea is being rejected by the Legislature. But perhaps the answer to solving the state’s labor shortage best comes from the private sector, not governments. Businesses struggling to attract workers are offering signing bonuses and increasing starting pay. Kwik Trip says it plans to hire 3000 more people in Wisconsin last year, and is now to open a child care center at its La Crosse packaging plant. As lawmakers point fingers and blame one another and offer divergent plans for dealing with the problem, some private companies are actually doing something about it.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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