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 22, 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
Blueprint for Prosperity: Lt. Governor Kleefisch Announces $1.5 Million Grant to Train Almost 200 Workers at Western Technical College
Wisconsin Fast Forward grants are awarded as part of Governor's Blueprint for Prosperity Initiative
LA CROSSE – Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch today announced the award of over $1.5 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grant dollars to Western Technical College (WTC) to train up to 192 workers for in-demand fields. The award is part of $28 million in grants that Governor Walker recently announced as part of his Blueprint for Prosperity initiative to help Wisconsin technical college train over 4,900 workers for jobs that employers need to fill.
"The investments we are making in Western Technical College under Governor Walker's leadership will enhance opportunities for working families in the La Crosse region and help employers find the workers they need," Lt. Governor Kleefisch said. "It is through investments like these that Wisconsin will address the skills gap today and in the years to come."
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will administer the grants, which will add capacity to 100 programs at all 16 technical colleges and accommodate up to 4,908 additional students in training programs. Training programs cover key industry sectors such as manufacturing, health care, transportation, construction and architecture, and education.
During a visit to the WTC campus, Lt. Governor Kleefisch announced DWD's intent to award the technical college $1,564,229 to train 192 additional workers in the following high-demand areas:
- $289,007 to train 24 students to be medical assistants.
- $1,275,222 to train 168 students in welding.
“We are excited about the ability this funding gives us to expand our Welding and Medical Assistant programs," said Western Technical College President Lee Rasch. "There has been an increased demand for these occupations in our area, and the grant will allow us to better meet the needs of our local employers.”
Governor Walker signed 2013 Act 139 into law in March 2014 as part of his Blueprint for Prosperity initiative following the strong bipartisan support of the state Legislature. The legislation allocated an additional $35.4 million in funds to the Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training program with a focus on three areas:
- Reduction of waits lists at Wisconsin technical colleges for high-demand fields.
- Collaborative projects between high schools, technical colleges, businesses, and other partners to increase opportunities for high school pupils to earn industry-recognized credentials.
- Enhancing the employment opportunities for workers with disabilities.
Technical colleges submitted initial lists of programs for grant consideration earlier this year. DWD developed objective, data-driven measurement tools to validate wait lists for grant eligibility purposes, evaluate each technical college's funding request, make award decisions, and include accountability measures to protect taxpayers' investment.