On June 18, 1981, the first organized meeting of the Wisconsin Employment & Training Association (WETA) was held. It was born out of the former small Skill Center Director’s Association that had met since the 1960’s in Wisconsin. The primary purpose of WETA was to promote cooperation and communication among association members.
The founding members determined the best way to meet its purpose of professional development and networking was to host an Annual Conference. The first conference was held in 1984, with one being held every year since.
In 1988, WETA began recognizing members who had 15 years or more service in the Employment & Training field. Today, WETA recognizes members who have been in the field for various lengths of time. In addition WETA has issued the President and the Art Besse Awards in recognition of outstanding contributions to WETA and the Employment & Training Field. In that same vein, WETA provides two scholarships, the Harmon Memorial Scholarship and Brasch Memorial Scholarship for two college students each year.
WETA formally became a non-profit organization in 1989. It remains a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.
In 2005, WETA joined with the Older Worker Network (OWN) and the Wisconsin chapter of the International Association of Workforce Professionals (IAWP) for a combined annual conference. WETA and OWN have continued the joint sponsorship of the conference to this day.
WETA expanded its professional development activities by hosting “mini-conferences” or one-day training sessions during the year. A variety of industry experts (both members and non-WETA members) have been brought in to present these training sessions. In addition to fulfilling the WETA mission, the training sessions have been a key funding source to maintain the organization’s fiscal health.
In 2010, WETA expanded its training portfolio to include Labor Law Clinics. IAWP had been the host agency and transferred that function to WETA. WETA is responsible for coordinating and hosting four clinics each year.
A constant part of WETA has been the Employment & Training Association (ETA). ETA has provided numerous officers on the Executive Committee as well as hosting office space and contributing thousands of staff hours to WETA functions and business.
WETA has remained strong with steady membership and sound fiscal management. Its board and membership is prepared to face the many challenges and opportunities facing the Employment & Training field for decades to come.