Wisconsin looks at AI to connect young people, disabled to jobs

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(The Center Square) – Wisconsin’s Workforce Development office wants to see how artificial intelligence can help people get new jobs.

The Governor’s Task Force on Artificial Intelligence met Monday to talk about equity and economic opportunities.

Ellie Hartman, chief evaluation officer at the Department of Workforce Development, told the task force she is particularly interested in using AI to help disabled workers.

“We’re actively looking to see how we might continue to fund something to continue to connect with our underutilized talent pools, such that Worker Connection has done,” Hartman said. “Maybe this AI task force could think of ways to get that continued connection to these underutilized talent pools.”

Gov. Tony Evers’ AI task force is focused on the state’s workforce needs, specifically finding ways to deal with Wisconsin’s years-long worker shortage.

Hartman said Wisconsin’s disabled population is already working but said there are always more opportunities to do more.

“Almost 49% of people with disabilities, ages 18 to 64, are employed compared to 46% in 2021. So, we’re seeing an increase,” Hartman added. “More and more people with disabilities are entering our workforce and filling our workforce needs.”

Hartman said the other area where AI could help connect workers to either open jobs or in-demand skills is among young workers.

“Not only entry-level jobs but think work-based training and youth apprenticeship opportunities. We’ve had some interagency discussions about how to better connect the dots for opportunity,” Hartman said. “How do we find individuals through school dropout or at risk youth? How do we find youth and then connect them to different workforce opportunities?”

Evers’ AI task force is one of two in Wisconsin.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos also has a task force looking at artificial intelligence, but that task force is looking at the risks that AI brings to the state. Those risks include how artificial intelligence may take jobs away from people working in Wisconsin.

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