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MADISON — Students throughout Wisconsin now have access to additional career development and mentorship tools starting as early as sixth grade in a platform that directly connects local employers to students, thanks to a new statewide collaboration.

School districts throughout Wisconsin have been using a web-based platform called Inspire at the local and regional level to connect area businesses to their future talent pool through online profiles, virtual career coaches, and career-based online learning activities for students and educators.

Under the new collaboration, instead of only having access to local and regional resources and information, Wisconsin students, educators and businesses will be able to connect with each other regardless of their location in a secure, web-based environment called “Inspire Wisconsin.”

That means more than 230,000 students and 16,000 educators now have access to more than 1,600 career coaches, more than 1,200 company profiles, and nearly 5,800 work-based learning activities.

Developed by Xello (formerly known as Career Cruising), Inspire helps educate students, educators, parents, and job-seekers about the current and projected talent needs of local companies. It also provides an opportunity for employers and communities to enhance existing work-based learning and career-readiness programs by making it easier for students to engage in opportunities best aligned with the careers and career pathway areas of interest.

In many regions, Inspire is being utilized to increase engagement between businesses and students in several ways, including interactive messaging with local professionals, job shadowing, interviewing opportunities and internships.

Inspire is available to all Wisconsin public school students in grades 6 to 12 and some technical colleges. The program is available to every student statewide, but not all districts have yet implemented it.

For more information and to register for the Inspire deployment, go to inspirewisconsin.org.

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