Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce
Secretary Newson: Governor Walker Positions Wisconsin for Continued Economic Expansion, Job Growth with Wisconsin Fast Forward Initiative
Over $6 million awarded for customized, employer-driven training, more funding available
HAYWARD – With his Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) initiative, Department of Workforce Development Secretary (DWD) Reggie Newson said today that Governor Walker has positioned Wisconsin for greater economic expansion and job growth by funding customized, employer-driven worker training to ensure a skilled workforce now and in the future.
"All across Wisconsin, employers and their partners in workforce training are responding enthusiastically to Governor Walker's innovative worker training program, just as the Legislature did early last year when it approved Wisconsin Fast Forward with overwhelming bipartisan support," Secretary Newson said. "So far, we've awarded over $6 million to promising collaborative projects, and more funding is available. With these and other workforce investments, we are putting Wisconsin, employers and working families on a path toward prosperity."
Secretary Newson was in Hayward to address the annual meeting of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, an economic development district serving 10 counties, five tribal nations, and local communities in the region. He encouraged employers and potential training partners to explore WFF opportunities, collaborate on training projects and consider applying for funding during future application periods.
The more than $6 million in WFF grants awarded thus far will help over 6,600 workers gain skills for new jobs or jobs with higher pay. The customized training projects approved so far involve 172 businesses throughout the state. Announced awards include Esolutions2 in Spooner, one of 10 employers in a $44,164 project to train 26 construction workers and three new hires in building more energy efficient structures.
Governor Scott Walker proposed the initiative early last year. Both houses of the legislature approved his bill with significant bipartisan majorities and made $15 million available for flexible, demand-driven training for companies that identify a specific workforce need. Companies can partner with other firms as well as training providers, workforce development boards, economic development organizations, technical colleges, and others. WFF was part of $100 million in workforce investments approved in the current budget.
During his 2014 State of the State address, Governor Walker proposed a $35.4 million expansion of the WFF worker training program as part of his Blueprint for Prosperity to focus on three populations:
- Reducing wait lists at Wisconsin technical colleges in high-demand fields like manufacturing and information technology;
- Developing innovative school-to-work collaborations between businesses, school districts, technical colleges, and other partners that result in industry-recognized certifications in high-demand areas; and
- Enhancing employment opportunities for workers with disabilities as part of the Governor's Year of the Better Bottom Line initiative that seeks to connect disabled individuals with employment.
For additional information on Wisconsin Fast Forward, visit http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wff/reports.htm