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UW System president believes shortage of talent in state's economy must be addressed

OSHKOSH, WI (WTAQ) - UW System President Ray Cross says the university must address a shortage of talent that's holding back the Wisconsin economy.

He told the Board of Regents in Oshkosh Thursday that the one constant he hears is that the UW should be more closely aligned with the needs of the state. That means developing top employees and leaders in the state's key industries.

Cross and other UW officials have prepared a Talent Development Initiative. To achieve it, he said the UW will need an extra $95 million in its next two-year budget.

Governor Scott Walker has told state agencies not to seek any increases, but the UW Regents voted unanimously Thursday to request the additional funds for the budget which takes effect next July.

Cross said he's been talking with the governor's office and lawmakers about the talent project on a weekly basis. The initiative includes research and training funds leading to more workers in science, technology, engineering, and math -- the so-called "STEM" fields.

The funding would also boost the numbers of UW graduates, increase internship opportunities, and preserve quality instruction. Cross says the goal is to more closely align the UW's education and research with the state's economic needs.

The university won't know until next February if they have a chance to get the extra dollars it seeks. That's when the governor will introduce the budget to the next Legislature.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)