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
Friday, July 18, 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
Developing Wisconsin's Workforce: DWD Deputy Secretary Barry Congratulates Graduates of Wisconsin Fast Forward Supported Workforce Training Program
GREEN BAY – Appearing on behalf of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson, Deputy Secretary Jonathan Barry joined in the celebration today of 22 graduates of the Call Center Professional certificate program offered by instructors by Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) in partnership with the UnitedHealth Group and Forward Services. The training program was made possible by a grant awarded under Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) initiative.
"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. "The successful partnership between employers, technical colleges, and partners will pay dividends to ensure a skilled workforce now and in the future."
As part of the Wisconsin Fast Forward program, Forward Service Corporation was awarded $38,555 to provide a six-week training program to prepare individuals to be employed at UnitedHealth Group Call Center in Green Bay. Forward Service partnered with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to design the training program, which covered skills such as customer service essentials and problem solving. Several of the graduates are current consumers of DWD's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), which is in line with the Governor's proclamation that 2014 is the Year of A Better Bottom Line to encourage employers to employ persons with disabilities.
Since Governor Walker proposed and the Legislature embraced the $15 million worker training grant 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 UnitedHealth Group in Green Bay. Companies can partner with other firms as well as training providers, workforce development boards, economic development organizations, technical colleges, and others.
In addition to the $100 million in workforce investments approved as part of the budget, Governor Walker won bipartisan approval in the Legislature for a Wisconsin Fast Forward expansion. As a result, $35.4 million in additional funds is available for worker training this year as part of his Blueprint for Prosperity which focuses on:
- 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
- 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.