- If you've been searching for ways to finish a college degree or even get one - the UW system hopes to help.
Governor Walker, along with leaders from U-W, announced a new online degree model.
The program lets people who've worked in certain fields get credit for their work.
Governor Walker was joined by leaders from the UW-System as well as Ministry St. Clare's in Weston.
The idea? To open doors to those students who want to advance their careers in fields like healthcare through the UW-System with a new online learning model.
"One of the biggest concerns you hear from employers is that many of our employers have jobs," Walker says. "They just don't have enough people with the skill sets needed to connect to those jobs."
UW System President Kevin Reilly agrees Wisconsin is lagging behind when it comes to adults with college degrees.
"We know if you look across the fifty states," Reilly says. "The average per capita income tracks one-to-one with the percentage of college educated people in the state."
Walker adds that many companies are waiting to hire workers.
"Many of our employers would add more work," Walker says. "If they knew that there were more people with the skill sets they needed to fill those positions."
This program hopes to do that. Keeping people employed while they get their degrees.
Mary Krueger, the president of Ministry St. Clares in Weston, knows that's been a problem in the past.
"We oftentimes hire people who want to get their foot in the door in an entry-level job while they're going to school," Krueger says. "Many of them have to leave after they get an associate's degree to get a bachelors degree so this will let them stay and accomplish their degree while they're still working here. We won't lose our skilled workers."
And what about the idea that online courses diminish a degree or lose faculty interaction? UW-Extension chancellor Ray Cross says it's the opposite at institutions he's visited.
"They focus so aggressively on making sure that's happening," Cross says. "That's a part of what this is. Is this a different degree? In the sense that you aren't living in a dorm, and you aren't on a campus: yes. It is focusing on the net need for a student, that's the intent."
At this point they're not sure the cost, and when they'll start this program.