Office of Skills Development is moving quickly to meet employer needs
By Reggie Newson, DWD Secretary
Since Governor Walker signed legislation in March to enact the Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative, DWD has moved quickly to launch the Office of Skills Development (OSD) and lay the groundwork for a nimble, adaptive and accountable system to advance innovative worker training programs.
Elements of Wisconsin Fast Forward include:
- $15 million in worker training grant funding.
- $5 million to administer the program, including resources for OSD as well as support for a state-of-the-art Labor Market Information System to help provide real-time data on job openings in Wisconsin.
Scott Jansen, a former AT&T executive, has joined DWD as Director of OSD and Dennis Schuh, an attorney with more than 25 years of legal experience, is OSD's program manager.
Together, Scott and Dennis are working in close consultation with our workforce partners, including the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Wisconsin Technical College System, to develop the policies and procedures that will govern the workforce grant program. The core mission of OSD is to be responsive to emerging labor needs identified by employers, and to provide resources that help employers meet these needs without duplicating efforts and resources that are either already exist or are ongoing. Key to these initiatives will be collaboration with workforce partners, economic development organizations, and education providers.
Part of OSD's charge is to provide timely and relevant information about the Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative to employers, training organizations and other stakeholders. To this end, the OSD has launched a landing page on DWD's website at http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wff. This page will serve as a resource for the latest information about this exciting initiative and provide a means to submit questions and ideas on how we can make Wisconsin Fast Forward as effective as possible.
Our vision for OSD is one in which the Office not only administers the $15 million worker training grant program that's enabled through Wisconsin Fast Forward, but serves as a resource to any business, workforce partner, economic development organization, or education provider that is seeking assistance navigating Wisconsin's workforce development system and finding the right resources to expand or move into Wisconsin.
The Office of Skills Development is an important component of Governor Walker's agenda to prepare Wisconsin workers for job openings that are available today and those that will be available in the years to come. This agenda, along with creating a regulatory environment that supports private-sector job creation, will help move Wisconsin's economy forward and help individuals across the state prosper.
We are excited to implement Wisconsin Fast Forward and to share information about the program and our successes along the way.
Office of Skills Development will support employer needs
By Scott Jansen, OSD Director
Since I started as the Director of the Office of Skills Development (OSD) last month, our office has quickly become a resource for employers, business chambers and economic development corporations looking to explore additional worker training programs to address skilled workforce needs. At OSD, our primary goal is to convene partners and build collaborations to support innovative skilled-workforce training solutions. Our services could lead to a connection with educators or service providers who can address the stated need with existing programming or to a Wisconsin Fast Forward grant, awarded to design and deliver a new training program.
As we design the Wisconsin Fast Forward grant process and awards criteria, we are looking to apply the following principles:
- Demand-driven: Grants will be awarded in response to an identified labor need of an employer or group of employers where existing programs cannot meet the defined need or outcome.
- Sector-specific: OSD will utilize labor market data to determine industry sectors with specific skill requirements or projected employment growth to maximize the impact of grant awards.
- Data-supported: Current and projected labor market information and skill requirements will significantly influence grant decisions.
- Collaboration-based: Successful grant applications will leverage collaboration with workforce development boards, economic development organizations, education providers, state agencies, and/or business associations.
- Transparent and accountable: DWD and OSD will partner closely to ensure that the process for soliciting, reviewing, and awarding worker training grants occurs with a high degree of transparency and accountability. OSD will leverage DWD audit resources to ensure that program costs follow agency, state, and federal regulations and that program outcomes are met or exceeded.
- Sustainable and replicable: OSD will encourage the development of sustainable training models that can be utilized in other industry sectors or regions across Wisconsin.
On behalf of the OSD staff, we look forward to working with collaborators and thought leaders from across Wisconsin to maximize the impact of the taxpayer resources that Governor Walker and nearly all Wisconsin legislators have invested in the Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative.
Web Page Informs, Updates the Public on Office of Skills Development
The Office of Skills Development has launched a temporary landing page to provide information as OSD prepares to launch the worker training grants program. The webpage will be updated on a regular basis with new information and is meant to serve as a public resource for anyone interested in learning more about OSD.
Also included in the page is additional background on OSD and a section with answers about the services that OSD can provide and information about the grant program.
Make sure that you check back to find new details as OSD moves closer to making the worker training grants available to the public.
A more comprehensive and robust website to share and collect information about Wisconsin Fast Forward will be launched in the coming months.
Update: Administrative Rules Process Underway
The initial public comment period for proposed Wisconsin Fast Forward administrative rules recently concluded as DWD continues to set a strong foundation for the $15 million training grant program.
The proposed rules will frame key elements and address issues such as:
- Criteria to award grants, including written proposals and evaluation standards.
- The extent to which matching funds will be required.
- Required reports to document spending activities and report outcomes.
DWD will incorporate public comments in an economic impact analysis it prepares and submits along with a
proposed rule package to the Wisconsin Legislative Council, with hearings and public notice to follow.