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

Every other year (in even years), The State of Working Wisconsin, provides a thorough review of jobs, wages, poverty, income, and job quality in the state on a biennial basis.

Job Watch Wisconsin

Released monthly, it provides a snapshot of Wisconsin’s job picture and reports on key recession trends. It also leads to regional analyses, such as Vital Signs 2013 and the Healthcare Retirement & Departure Survey for guiding local economic and workforce decision makers.


Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership

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?

In Wisconsin, we developed an approach to identifying low-wage workers in need of better skills. Together with CLASP, we adapted and disseminated the model, providing the profile for every state to support advocacy and policy around skills and wages.


Publication Highlight 

Raise the Floor Milwaukee
June 26, 2013, By Laura Dresser

This report from COWS highlights how raising the low-wage floor will improve quality of life for the 100,000 workers in poverty-wage jobs in the city, and for a roughly equal number of poverty-wage workers in the suburban counties around city.