MADISON (WKOW) -- Manufacturers and other small businesses are starting to ask whether seven percent is the new standard rate for unemployment.
Most of those employers say that's because Wisconsin schools aren't turning out enough people with the job skills they need.
One local business owner is taking on the job of training employees himself.
Dickinson Manufacturing Solutions is a small company that makes stainless steel parts for a variety of equipment.
Owner Keith Dickinson said he learned the machinists trade on-the-job in the 1980s.
"I just have seen the trend, prior to me opening this company in 2005, I saw the trends going away from training and into strictly looking at the bottom line. And I thought was a mistake at the time," said Dickinson.
Dickinson believes its why employers are now facing a shortage of skilled workers.
But for companies like Filament Games, a developer of educational video games, in-house training would force production to slow down, meaning certain contract work would have to be turned away.
"The ability for us to take somebody who we build up from the inside typically takes longer than six months, that's more like a six month to a year trajectory, so by the time they're online and ready to go that project opportunity is passed," explained Filament Games CEO Dan White.
That doesn't mean Filament Games isn't feeling the skilled labor crunch.
"We've identified a really good list of resources to go to, for instance, a number of the local community colleges, but they're not able to put out students as fast as we need them," said White.
So, Filament has turned to nationwide searches to bring in talent.
Keith Dickinson knows his approach isn't for everyone.
"Its expensive. There's very little front-end gain to it," Dickinson conceded.
But, he believes its the only way to truly build a new generation of skilled workers.
"In the long game, I believe you come out ahead," said Dickinson.
Critics of Governor Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) say his budget cut money for technical schools when they needed it most.
But on Wednesday, the Governor announced a $705, 651 grant to Moraine Park Technical College for a "manufacturing boot camp."
Its a 15 week program designed to provide more than 100 people with certifications in welding or CNC machine operations, two areas of great need.
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