The Workforce Alliance was formed to help students at all grade levels understand the many and varied career opportunities that exist here in Washington County. We want to help students understand all of the job and educational opportunities available, see how the two are connected and then use that information to make the very important decisions related to what comes next after high school graduation. Researching this on your own may seem like a challenge, but we want you to know that we’re here to help! We’ve been able to bring employers and school districts (Hartford, Kewaskum, Slinger and West Bend), colleges and universities (MPTC and UWM-WC) together to provide you with resources to sort through all of the options and make the best decisions. Additionally, our social and human services partners will be able to help you access a vast array of support services where special needs exist.

Starting in the 2017-2018 school year, all public school students in Wisconsin are required to develop an Academic and Career Plan (ACP). Typically, this will be initially developed in Middle School with ongoing updates until high school graduation. This will help students and parents make appropriate course selections in support of the students future goals. The Workforce Alliance is collaborating with the United Way of Washington County to provide a key piece of supporting infrastructure called INSPIRE that allows students in any school district to communicate with employers in any part of the county. 

Here are some statistics collected from employers in Washington County that will help you to understand the challenges they face when hiring new employees.


From a focus group of Washington County employers, representing firms with nearly 5,500 employees:

  • 58% of employers surveyed indicated they plan to expand in the next three years (2015-2018) and hire additional employees.
  • 29% indicated that new employees do not fulfill necessary requirements in entry level positions.
  • 30% indicated that entry level applicants struggle with basic skills, such as locating information, reading for information, and applied math and writing.
  • 43% indicated that entry level applicants lack “hard” (technical) skills.
  • 46% indicated that entry level applicants lack “soft” skills (habits and personality).
  • 78% indicated they have rejected applicants because of background checks.
  • 87% indicated they have rejected professional level applicants because of background checks.
  • 85% indicated they have rejected applicants because they could not pass controlled substance testing.


Nationally, 66% of high school graduates enter post-secondary education– a university or technical college.

Of that number, only 25% graduate with a four year degree.

50% of graduates are under-employed– they are not working in a job related to their degree.

“Employers will want to know what you can do and do well and not what degree or diploma is hanging on your wall.”

A study done by the West Bend School District shows that we are aligned with national trends. They found that 62% of their graduates enter post-secondary education, and of that group, only 30% attain a four year degree.

The video on this page will give you some valuable insights into the important decisions you and your family will need to make as you prepare for graduation and “life after high school”. It may be helpful to watch the video several times to help you absorb all of information it has to offer.