Funds To Support Re-employment Programs
Madison - - Governor Jim Doyle, U.S. Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, U. S. Congressman Ron Kind, and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced the receipt of a National Emergency Grant of up to $1,183,807 from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to assist self employed farmers, eligible family members and agricultural workers who have lost their jobs as a result of economic conditions in the agricultural industry in Wisconsin.
National Emergency Grants are part of the U.S. DOL secretary's discretionary fund. A grant is awarded after a state submits a request and the grant guidelines have been met. The grant request application, submitted by DWD to U.S. DOL, indicates that Wisconsin has lost 1,300 farms each year for the past 10 years.
The grant, $355,187 of which will be provided immediately, will mean critical help for dislocated Wisconsin farming and agricultural workers through a program called "Future Fields." DWD estimates up to 2,500 workers could be eligible for the program. Participants will be placed in training to learn new jobs skills, will receive job-seeking skills training or will be provided job search assistance. Support services available will include activities such as childcare, transportation, emergency services, tools necessary for employment and other support services.
"This grant is vitally important to those agricultural workers in our state who've lost their jobs and are in need of job training and placement. I know the DWD will offer them valuable assistance," said Baldwin
The program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Workforce Development, the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board with two additional Workforce Development Boards and the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The funding will allow the statewide program to continue to serve the agricultural industry in Wisconsin.
"This project underscores Governor Doyle's Grow Wisconsin plan to invest in Wisconsin's citizens. The funding will ensure that Wisconsin's highly motivated agricultural workers can find new, meaningful employment." said Representative Ron Kind.
Governor Doyle thanked Wisconsin's congressional delegation for their support in securing federal funding. "Representatives Baldwin and Kind know this is a very important program for Wisconsin's farmers and farm industry workers; and they know those workers are hurting. We have been very successful bringing much needed federal dollars back into Wisconsin because of the efforts of Representatives Baldwin and Kind," said Governor Doyle.
"Farmers have many transferable skills, but frequently lack the economic means to upgrade their skills to meet the needs of the labor market," said Secretary Roberta Gassman, whose department submitted the grant request. "This funding will allow us to offer job-specific training, so these workers can more easily enter the workforce."