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Dr. Laura Dresser

The Great Recession, the Great Divergence, Skills Gaps and Innovation


   Dr. Laura Dresser
  Associate Director of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS)
  University of Wisconsin
  Madison, WI



Laura Dresser is the Associate Director of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin. For nearly two decades at COWS, she has helped the organization develop projects and programs to promote equity,sustainability, and democracy in Wisconsin and beyond. Her work for COWS has focused on labor markets, training, and workforce development systems, with special attention especially to lower-wage labor markets and the range of job quality in service sector jobs. But her work has not just been academic. Laura has worked extensively with labor, business, education and community leaders to build stronger systems for training, education, and advancement for workers, serving as a convener and technical advisor to state projects on industry partnerships, career pathways,and leading evaluation of policy and practice at the local and state level. Recent work includes analysis of Wisconsin Technical College System student trajectories from Adult Basic Education to college degree programs,investigations of policy for improving the quality of jobs in cleaning and caring in homes, evaluation of employer engagement in local workforce training initiatives, and policy papers reviewing career pathway and industry partnership strategies for improving Wisconsin’s education and training system. She is a media source on low-wage jobs restructuring, most recently in the Los Angeles Times, and on the Wisconsin economy. She is the author of numerous papers, including The State of Working Wisconsin, 2012. She is also co-editor of The Gloves-Off Economy: Workplace Standards at the Bottom of America's Labor Market. Laura received her Bachelor of Arts from Rice University in Houston, Texas; and her Masters in Social Work and PhD in Social Work and Economics from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


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