Jobs and Skills

Understanding Work, Training, and What Economic Change Means for Workers

The high road for workers implies moving the nation to higher levels of skills (qualified workers) and a greater reward for work (quality jobs). COWS’ Jobs and Skills agenda, developed over 20 years, focuses consistently on both. In Wisconsin and beyond, COWS serves as a go-to source on the economy, low-wage/no-benefit jobs, and the challenges working people face as inequality climbs.  

Ongoing Projects

State of Working Wisconsin

For more than two decades now, annually, on Labor Day, COWS reports on how working people are faring in the state.  


Job Watch Wisconsin

This monthly publication provides a snapshot Wisconsin’s gaping job deficit.



COWS designed and supported the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP), still the nation’s premiere labor-led training partnership. This year, COWS and the WRTP released Manufacturing Better Opportunity, describing recent success in connecting central city residents to good manufacturing jobs.

Better Skills and Wages: Who Would be Helped by Stronger Pathways?

To gain a better understanding of the post-secondary education needs in each state, we - together with CLASP - developed profiles of adult workers in every state who are in need of better skills and wages. Click and learn more about your state.


Publication Highlight 
Oregon Care Economy: The Case for Public Care Investment

March 14, 2017
By: Laura Dresser, Mary C. King, and Raahi Reddy

Oregon’s current care economy is vast and largely invisible. Currently underinvested, it creates and exacerbates poverty and inequality. We are missing the opportunity to invest adequately in the care economy in order to build a stronger, more inclusive economy and better life for us all. This report seeks to bring care work into view.