Madison and Milwaukee are the largest cities and Wisconsin's top locations for most nonfarm employers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Wisconsin's chief occupations are retail salespersons and cashiers, fast-food workers and other food industry employees, and registered nurses. Job applicants with postsecondary education have an edge over uneducated applicants in the tight job market in Wisconsin.
For decades, Wisconsin concentrated on strengthening its education system, including 26 campuses in the University of Wisconsin system and over 23 private colleges throughout the state. There are 16 technical or vocational school systems and most counties have a campus or a satellite facility for at least one of them.
The finance and insurance trades need postsecondary school graduates, including people who have completed their insurance certifications, entry-level accountants who have their associate degrees and others. According to the BLS, in November 2012, 2.7 million people worked in Wisconsin's nonfarm sector, with 962,000 employees working in the broad sectors of manufacturing, trade, transportation, and utilities. State programs ensure that schools, colleges and universities work with employers to tailor courses and degrees to meet employers' requirements, making Wisconsin a great place to get career-based schooling.
Reports from the BLS illustrate that educated job applicants often earn more than applicants with only a high school education. For example, in the finance industry, tellers with high school diplomas or very little postsecondary schooling make an annual mean wage of $25,470, whereas people with certifications or degrees, such as accountants or auditors, have an annual mean wage of $72,260.
In Wisconsin, manufacturing is a strong industry, with the state ranking second in the nation for employment per thousand workers for first-line supervisors of production. Since the BLS reports that people in this field have an annual mean wage of $55,790, the competition for these jobs is significant. Graduates with supervisory management certifications or degrees generally have a better chance of becoming supervisors in the top paying businesses.