Gov. Walker reveals his plan for improving higher education

By: Megan Lowry Email
By: Megan Lowry Email

(WEAU)--In a speech over the weekend, Governor Scott Walker unveiled his plan to have Wisconsin colleges and universities earn their funding, not by the number of students enrolled, but by the number of graduates employed in Wisconsin.

"We shouldn't be paying for butts in the classroom; we should be paying for outcomes and that means in higher education not only degrees but students getting jobs in the fields needed today,” said Walker.

In an hour long speech, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, Walker announced his plan. Telling supporter’s universities and tech schools need to focus on preparing students for jobs not just majors.

He says one of the greatest employment needs across the state is in manufacturing industries.

'If we could double the size of those programs I’m sure they could all get hired,” said Chippewa Valley Technical President Bruce Barker.

Barker says their philosophy has been to teach people skills they need to enter the workforce.

'We are very proud of our graduation and placement rates, 92 percent of our students who graduated last year got employment within 6 months," said Barker.

Eighty-eight percent of those students found jobs in Wisconsin.

But one of the concerns with tying education to performance is that not every student is continuing their education for a degree and at universities across the state not every degree feeds into a specific 'job.'

"So this is a concept that isn't foreign to the university and in some ways we are already there. There is a big discussion about performance based but there are a lot of details to be fleshed out,” said UW -System spokesperson David Giroux.

He says already this year they have scaled back spending requests and have pledged any new money to workforce development and economic development


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