FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, August 15, 2014
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
Nearly 50 Workers Building Skills with Wisconsin Fast Forward, Customized Training Grants Awarded to Green Bay Manufacturer, Trucking Firm
Secretary Newson: Two businesses, their workers, among many benefiting from Governor Walker's WFF initiative to build a skilled workforce, expand economy, keep Wisconsin moving forward
GREEN BAY – Citing Wisconsin Fast Forward grants to two Green Bay businesses, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today said Governor Walker's visionary worker training program is helping build a skilled workforce to encourage economic expansion and keep Wisconsin moving forward.
"Nearly 50 workers, 20 of them new hires, will benefit by learning new skills and either gaining employment or advancing to a better job with a pay raise, thanks to Governor Walker's initiative," Secretary Newson said. "His initiative is encouraging remarkable collaboration, not just in Green Bay, but in communities across Wisconsin, employers, technical colleges and workforce development partners, among others, all coming together to help workers learn new skills for jobs in demand, help businesses expand, and continue Wisconsin's economic recovery."
On Secretary Newson's behalf, Deputy Secretary Jonathan Barry visited Services Plus, a Green Bay manufacturer, and America's Service Line, a Green Bay trucking company. The two businesses were recently awarded the following WFF grants:
- $13,745 manufacturing category grant to Services Plus to train 21 workers in industrial maintenance, in collaboration with the Bay Area Workforce Development Board and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
- $11,500 transportation category grant to America's Service Line to train five incumbent workers and 20 new hires to become driver trainers and commercial vehicle operators. Fox Valley Technical College will provide the training.
At Services Plus, Deputy Secretary Barry met with grant partners and participants. Service Plus President Mike Schumacher summarized the impact and benefits of the WFF initiative and its matching grant program.
"The Wisconsin Fast Forward program helped Services Plus meet a need for more technical skills in our manufacturing operation," Service Plus President Schumacher said. "We leveraged a $13,000 grant into $26,000 of training for 21 people, who collectively will receive over $40,000 each year in higher wages as Machine Operators. We believe that we will receive a return on our investment through higher productivity for Services Plus, and can’t say enough about what this opportunity means to our employees and their families."
Bay Area Workforce Development Executive Director Jim Golembeski described Services Plus as a valued partner.
“Services Plus has been an active partner with our workforce development efforts for 15 years and Bay Area WDB is very pleased to work with them in this Wisconsin Fast Forward grant to provide advancement opportunities to some of their workers through skill development training,” Executive Director Golembeski said.
“This partnership is about strengthening a great Wisconsin company and investing in our workforce,” said Dr. H. Jeffery Rafn, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. “With the help of this grant, we look forward to working with Services Plus, Inc. to offer their employees the education and training that is so valuable for career development.”
At America's Service Line, Deputy Secretary Barry cited the initiative's beneficial impact in helping job seekers gain employment. Joining him for the event, Fox Valley Technical College President, Dr. Susan May, said the college welcomed the opportunity to help the employer and its workers succeed.
“We are very pleased to assist America’s Service Line through this Fast Forward grant and ultimately bring new and expanded employee skill sets to the company’s operations," Dr. May said.
During the Green Bay WFF events, Deputy Secretary Barry also urged other employers and potential partners in training projects to submit proposals for a recently announced third round of Wisconsin Fast Forward grants.
Based on a comprehensive analysis of pressing workforce needs, the DWD Office of Skills Development (OSD) set the following categories, each with separate 2014 application deadlines and a range of possible grant awards:
- September 23: Manufacturing Occupations, $5,000 to $400,000
- September 30: Construction Trades and Related Occupations and Transportation, Logistics and Distribution Occupations, $5,000 to $400,000
- October 7: Financial Services Occupations and Information Technology Occupations, $5,000 to $400,000
- October 14: Customer Service Occupations, $5,000 to $400,000
- October 21: Agriculture and Related Occupations and Health Care and Related Occupations, $5,000 to $400,000; and small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees, $5,000 to $50,000
Early last year, Governor Walker proposed the WFF initiative, which lawmakers quickly approved with overwhelming bipartisan support. WFF encourages partnerships between employers and workforce and economic development organizations.
WFF targets funding to meet pressing needs for skilled workers and it includes accountability measures to ensure the state funds are well spent. The Office of Skills Development administers the program and monitors funded projects to ensure that unemployed trainees are hired and incumbent trainees receive a pay increase.
For additional third round details, visit: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wff/announcements.htm