Upcoming events

Follow Us

Log in

Independent Business Association of Wisconsin

Representing Wisconsin's Independent Businesses

 Manufacturing | Construction | Legal | Financial | Technology | Education | Healthcare | Entrepreneurs 

From: Steve Kohlmann, IBAW Executive Director

For many years, we have heard from business owners of the difficulty in hiring and maintaining the workforce. It has been a struggle and there are several reasons for it. With the present workforce getting older, the retirement age is nearing for much of the workforce. Unfortunately, a younger workforce has been directed to attending college leaving key positions open.

Below are several organizations who are making great strides to expose young adults to the workforce, entrepreneurship and free market ideas. The IBAW is working hard to connect business owners to these organizations and encourage them to get involved in changing the future workforce and exposing them to real world work environments.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to read through their descriptions and become involved with them in some way.

LAUNCH - ElmBrook School District

LINK: launch.yourcapsnetwork.org

LAUNCH represents the collaboration of education, business and community, providing students with a unique, immersive experience, resulting in highly skilled, adaptable, global innovators and leaders.

What is LAUNCH?
LAUNCH is an opportunity for juniors and seniors attending Elmbrook School District and Wauwatosa School District.  Students will spend part of their day at their high school and part of their day at a LAUNCH site, which may be a different location than their home school. While there, students will work in teams on challenges provided by both their instructors and business and industry partners while earning high school and/or college credit. Students will fast forward into their future by getting experience in a professional culture, solving real-world problems, using industry standard tools and resources while being mentored by educators and actual employers. 

As of the 2023-2024 school year, LAUNCH has offered 17 different strands and this year will offer 11 strands. The Global Business, Future Teachers, Law & Public Policy, Data Science, Media Solutions, Automation, Robotics, & Trends in IT, Engineering Foundations, Spanish in Healthcare, and Medicine & Healthcare strands are based in the Elmbrook School District. Wauwatosa School District hosts the Foundations of Body Systems & Disease and Skilled Building Trades strands.

Milwaukee Lutheran High School Free Enterprise Academy

LINK: milwaukeelutheran.org/freeenterpriseacademy

The Free Enterprise Academy (FEA) at Milwaukee Lutheran High School provides students with the resources and education to think freely about the principles of economics, personal finance, and entrepreneurship while at the same time using a historical lens to understand free markets through the constructs of capitalism versus other economic models. All students at Milwaukee Lutheran participate in coursework provided by the Free Enterprise Academy, and students with a passion for this field of study can pursue additional coursework in Economics, Accounting, Business, Entrepreneurship, and Digital Media. It is the mission of the Free Enterprise Academy to challenge students to think critically about free markets, business as an enterprise, the role of the government in an economy, and to be financially literate.


Dear Steve,

On behalf of Milwaukee Lutheran High School, and our Career and Free Enterprise Academies, I wanted to send you a message thanking you, and I ask that you send our thanks to the IBAW and its board, for inviting Milwaukee Lutheran to the 2023 Wisconsin Manufacturing Summit, sponsoring a table for us and securing another table for our promotional materials!  Evan and I had a great time, and we thought our students got a ton out of the experience.  Instead of just hanging around our table, our students took it upon themselves to go out and meet other people, get feedback and talk with manufacturers from all over the state (and, hopefully, potential employers).  In fact, MLHS students talked to so many guests, we were some of the last people to leave the event!  Mr. Janousky and I are very proud of our students, and we hope IBAW enjoyed their presence there.

Thank you again for your and the IBAW's boundless generosity.  We look forward to being there again next year!


Shannon Whitworth

Executive Director, Free Enterprise Academy 

Arrowhead High School Warhawk Manufacturing

LINK: warhawkmanufacturing.company.site

Designing and assembling products in high school may not be a new concept, but at Arrowhead Union High School students are designing, manufacturing and selling products to real clients. Warhawk Manufacturing is a class and business that’s been in place for a year and a half. Arrowhead teacher Anthony Christian said the senior-level class helps students use what they’ve already picked up in previous classes.

Items being produced include holiday yard decorations such as reindeer or signs that spell “Joy,” built from metal materials meant to last. Students also assembled a full-size garden shed with vinyl siding for a local residence and were making progress on their second one. Building takes place both in the workshop and on site.

Funds produced in Warhawk Manufacturing are used to cover costs of doing business, but also go back to students for a scholarship that can be used to pay for future schooling or tools; students also can make their own money. Christian said he anticipates five or six of the current students to go straight from high school to being independent business owners.

Craftsman with Character

LINK: craftsmanwithcharacter.org  WATCH VIDEO: CLICK HERE

How do you attract and employ young people who have a passion and drive for careers in manufacturing? 

How do young people form a firm foundation of good character and understand their place in the world? 

How do you help transfer the skills and knowledge possessed by your most senior employees to a younger generation?  

Come learn how the Craftsman With Character pre-apprenticeship program forms partnerships with high schools and area employers where those objectives are met. This one semester program is grounded in character development, job shadowing and mentoring at a variety of area businesses.


Call or Email Us
Office: 262-844-0333
Email: IBAWOffice@Gmail.com

960 Timber Pass, Brookfield, WI 53045

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software