July 1, 1996
The Department of Workforce Development
A new state agency started work bright and early on Monday, July 1: the Department of
Workforce Development. Our job is to help people find success in employment.
Good work if you can get it. And in Wisconsin, you can.
The Department of Workforce Development is a key player in maintaining a world class
workforce that will keep Wisconsin one of the nation's strongest economies.
We help workers land that all-important first job or take that next step up the ladder. We
offer career counseling, training opportunities (including school-to work and adult
apprenticeships). If there are barriers to employment, whether physical disabilities or
welfare dependency, we'll help you overcome them.
We help employers keep Wisconsin's economy strong by matching them with workers and
strategies to retain them. We provide sound labor market information to guide wise
We're the job shop charged with implementing "Wisconsin Works," the nation's most
ambitious welfare reform program. W-2, scheduled to start in September 1997, replaces
dependency on AFDC with the pride and self-sufficiency of a job.
The DWD is the answer to taxpayers' demand for streamlined government.
Two years ago, the Legislative Audit Bureau and the SAVE Commission found that a
myriad of employment programs existed, many of them competing or uncoordinated. For
instance, 20 of the 24 groups targeted for employment and training services were served
by two or more programs; 13 were served by four or more programs! That was confusing
and frustrating for employers and job seekers.
Each agency and program had its own administrative structure and delivery systems,
causing duplication and inefficiency. The proliferation of programs and services meant that
many customers did not receive the services they were looking for, or were forced to hunt
and peck for what they needed.
Gov. Tommy Thompson is replacing that bureaucratic mish-mash with a single
"Partnership for Full Employment," to be operated by DWD in cooperation with employers
and local units of government through a network of 62 one-stop job centers from Kenosha
It is one coordinated, comprehensive system providing the right stuff for every need, for
people with disabilities, welfare recipients, veteran workers displaced by foreign
competition, first-time job applicants or those trading up for that better situation.
Job seekers and employers who need little other help can find each other on the JobNet,
an easy-to-use, automated touch-screen job matching system now available in 46 locations
and available over the Internet at http://www.dwd.state.wi.us/jobnet.
Help with résumé writing, interviewing, job search clinics, and job clubs - even child care
and health care - will be available to those who need it. Job fairs, workshops on how to
accommodate workers with disabilities, job coaching and mentoring, strategies on finding
worker transportation will help employers create more jobs.
Our customers helped us design this cost-effective system - 800 of them over the past 1½
years, representing 110 businesses, community-based organizations, and advocacy groups
- service providers, local government officials, persons with disabilities, AFDC recipients,
labor representatives, and employers from 33 cities, counties and tribes, 12 state agencies,
20 University of Wisconsin and Technical College campuses.
The Partnership for Full Employment is the latest of Wisconsin's progressive,
worker-oriented innovations. It joins such other key elements of the new Department of
Workforce Development as unemployment insurance; workers compensation, equal rights,
and wage and hours enforcement.
The new DWD increases services without creating new staff positions. We did it by taking
a customer focus, using cutting-edge computer technology, and by re-engineering key
elements taken from the old Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations and
adding essential services from the Department of Health and Social Services, such as
vocational rehabilitation and economic support.
That mix is infused with a progressive, "can-do" attitude, like Nancy Rasmussen's. The
former welfare recipient from Waupaca County says, "I now have a job waiting for me and
hope of better times ahead."
She is joining a community of pride: 2.7 million other Wisconsin men and women who work
for a living. She knows what Gov. Thompson has been trying to tell the nation: Work
fulfills a basic human need that no welfare check can match.
With Wisconsin's economy booming, there's plenty of room on the career track. The new
Department of Workforce Development is working to make it easier for everyone to get
on track and get ahead. It's Wisconsin's future at work!