Today’s schools produce tomorrow’s workforce

Smarter schools produce smarter students. Smarter students become smarter employees. Smarter employees work at smarter companies led by smarter executives.

Connecting the dots on that continuum of regional economic development is the mission of the third annual BizTimes Get Smarter Conference.

Company leaders, human resource directors and their employees all took away some insights from the Oct. 20 conference at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee.

The continuum starts with smart schools. The opening remarks at the conference were presented by Wisconsin Superintendent of Education Tony Evers, who provided an overview on the state of education in Wisconsin.

Evers’ remarks were followed by a panel discussion about the challenges and the opportunities facing southeastern Wisconsin’s educational infrastructure. Panelists included:

  • Gregory Thornton, Ph.D., superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools.
  • Melanie Holmes, vice president of World of Work Solutions at ManpowerGroup and chair of the Milwaukee Area Technical College District Board.
  • Paul Sweeney, founding partner at PS Capital Partners LLC in Milwaukee and chairman of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s Education Committee.
  • Robert Rauh, principal of Milwaukee College Prep School.
  • Renee Herzing, president of Herzing University.

After the panel discussion, the conference presented several concurrent educational workshops for business executives. The leaders of the workshops included:

  • Scott Jansen, talent dividend director at the Greater Milwaukee Committee. Jansen and the GMC are exploring ways to transform Milwaukee into a “City of Internships.” Jansen led a workshop to help employers establish internships to develop young talent.
  • Christine McMahon, principal at McMahon & Associates, a sales training and coaching firm. McMahon also is a columnist for BizTimes Milwaukee magazine. McMahon led a workshop about the secrets of successful negotiation. She shared best practices to help sales executives gain leverage and results.
  • Susan Marshall, a consultant and founder of Executive Advisor LLC in Oconomowoc. She also is the author of “How to Grow a Backbone.” Marshall led a workshop about building confidence and competence for young executives.
  • Aleta Norris, a co-founding partner of Impact Consulting Group and Living As A Leader, a leadership training, coaching and consulting firm. Norris will led a workshop to help companies to become more competitive by developing their workforce.

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