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
Tuesday, July 8, 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 Urges Fox Valley Employers to Apply for Worker Training Grants, Join Others Benefiting from Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward Initiative
Up to $1 million in WFF Blueprint for Prosperity funding now available, more grant opportunities ahead
APPLETON – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today urged Fox Valley employers to apply for worker training grants under Governor Walker's broad and innovative Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) initiative as a way to improve their bottom line and Wisconsin's expanding economy overall.
"Thanks to Governor Walker's efforts to improve Wisconsin's business climate, Wisconsin is adding jobs, and his Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative seeks to build on these successful efforts with worker training grants that fund customized, employer-driven training," Secretary Newson said. "That helps the unemployed return to work and the underemployed get a better job with higher pay, while enabling employers to expand operations."
Since Governor Walker proposed and the Legislature embraced the worker training initiative early last year, more than $6 million in WFF grants have been awarded, funding collaborative efforts to train approximately 6,500 workers. The projects so far involve 172 businesses across the state including CMD Corporation and Boldt in Appleton, and Fusion Integrated Solutions, KI, Relyco, Schneider National, Services Plus and UnitedHealth Group in Green Bay.
Governor Scott Walker proposed the WFF 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 as part of the current budget.
In addition to the $100 million in workforce investments approved as part of the budget, Governor Walker won bipartisan approval in the Legislature of a Wisconsin Fast Forward expansion. As a result, $35.4 million more has become available for worker training 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.
DWD's Office of Skills Development is currently accepting applications for worker training projects serving people with disabilities. Up to $1 million in WFF Blueprint for Prosperity funding is available, with grant awards ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. The deadline for applications is September 16, 2014. In the weeks ahead, further WFF and WFF Blueprint for Prosperity grant opportunities will be announced.
For more about the WFF program, visit: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wff/.