UW-Madison Develops Career-Information Systems for Singapore

by Kerry Hill, UW-Madison Communications

The Singapore Ministry of Education has awarded a four-year, $3.5 million contract to the Center on Education and Work (CEW) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Education for localizing CEW’s WISCareers and CareerLocker online career-information systems for use in Singapore schools.

“Singapore continues to engage in world-class educational innovations, and the opportunity to support these efforts is an incredible opportunity for us,” says V. Scott Solberg, CEW’s associate director of research and director of the Wisconsin Careers unit.

The Singapore Ministry of Education became interested in the WISCareers and CareerLocker systems after conducting a global review of related systems around the world.

“In addition to offering a powerful and comprehensive online career-information system, we were also drawn to the Center on Education and Work because of its willingness to customize the portal according to the needs of Singapore schools,” says Chee Wah Sum, director of education programs.

CEW’s Wisconsin Careers unit has been delivering career-development materials and services in a variety of media and formats to schools, job centers and higher education campuses across Wisconsin for more than 30 years. Today, Wisconsin Careers offers a wealth of useful information to students and adult clients across Wisconsin through its popular, subscriber-supported WISCareers Web site.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) turned to the CEW unit to develop and manage the online Wisconsin Career Assessment, which is designed to be used by eighth- and 10th-graders across Wisconsin in conjunction with the standardized Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations (WKCE).

The contract with Singapore allows the CEW to add staff to support the new graphics and exciting career exploration features such as an interviewing skills module and a career-planning module.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to add new features to our system and thereby increase the quality of services we can offer to the Wisconsin community,” says Fran Breit, associate director overseeing the Wisconsin Careers unit.

This year, the Center on Education and Work is marking 45 years of implementing the Wisconsin Idea.

“Applying our research-based practice on a more global scale only adds to the value of innovative educational activities we can offer our Wisconsin schools, colleges and universities, and workforce centers,” says L. Allen Phelps, CEW director and UW-Madison professor of educational leadership and policy analysis.

“The ideas we have generated from this Singapore contract has already provided us with new ways to conduct our outreach and training methods as well as brought new features into our WISCareers system that will only benefit the over 600,000 Wisconsin students and adults who use the system each year,” says Phelps.

“Over the years, the Center on Education and Work has been a strong and vibrant illustration of how the University of Wisconsin applies the Wisconsin Idea, and the Singapore contract is just one more shining example of how our work is being received internationally,” says Adam Gamoran, interim dean of the UW-Madison School of Education.