The Industry Partnerships (formerly Wisconsin Sector Strategies Initiative) funding was initiated in March 2009 and continues through December 2011. Over five million dollars of WIA discretionarily funds have been dispersed to all eleven Wisconsin Workforce Development Boards. Grants were awarded for two purposes: convening an industry partnership and training designed by the partnership. Industry Partnership projects funded include twenty-five convening grants and nineteen training grants in the health care, energy, advanced manufacturing, power controls, marine manufacturing, bio-fuels, IT, transportation, food manufacturing and ag-products sectors.
Convening awards are intended for regions requiring assistance to develop or expand a new Industry Partnership in a targeted industry sector. Awards are provided up to $25,000 per industry sector partnership developed. Awards can be used to organize employers and other industry partners; evaluate current workforce systems, employee skills sets, and regional assets and challenges; and develop an industry-specific strategic plan that incorporates both long-term and short-term training solutions.
Training grants are for an industry partnership that has determined that sector’s labor market needs, skill gap analysis, employer leveraging and plan for career pathway training and sustaining the partnership. Training and development options may include: trainee assessment; Career pathway training identified under the RISE initiative; Incumbent worker training; on-the-job training; training that leads to industry recognized credentials; and supportive services, may use the awards for these purposes.