Wisconsin Fast Forward Close to Launch
By Reggie Newson, DWD Secretary
Since Governor Walker signed Wisconsin Fast Forward legislation into law earlier
this year following legislators' overwhelming bipartisan support, DWD has moved
quickly to implement the program. The initiative provides $15 million in grants
to support employer-led training efforts and creates an Office of Skills
Development (OSD) to administer grants and serve as a resource for employers
seeking assistance to develop their workforce.
Over the past few months, OSD has been developing a competitive, transparent,
and accountable process to administer the grant program. Our goal is to aid
employers seeking workforce services, either through a Wisconsin Fast Forward
grant or through a linkage to an existing workforce program.
Additionally, DWD has developed the Administrative Rules to govern the Wisconsin
Fast Forward program, which is currently under review by the Legislature. We
anticipate that OSD will be able to issue the first Grant Program Announcement
in fall 2013.
Visit the Wisconsin Fast Forward website to
learn more and to get information updates.
Office of Skills Development is Working with Local Partners to Identify Skill Gaps
By Scott Jansen,
Division of Employment & Training Administrator/OSD Director
As the Office of Skills Development (OSD) has been writing the Administrative
Rules, designing the processes and building the systems to support the Wisconsin
Fast Forward initiative, thought leaders around Wisconsin have been defining
skill shortages and submitting inquiries to quantify the impact upon the local
economy. Economists and researchers in our state agencies, technical college
system and local workforce development boards are presently analyzing labor
market data to confirm the existence of skilled worker shortages by sector and
market. The next step will be to evaluate opportunities and formulate Grant
Program Announcements to enable employers and business consortiums to formulate
training programs in response to the confirmed skill gaps.
The first set of grant announcements will be issued once the Administrative
Rules are approved by the Legislature. The Inquiry Review Committee continues to
review and evaluate inquiries received via the WFF website. In addition, a technical review committee has convened to
review the preliminary research and recommendations. This committee will also
review and approve the first set of grant announcements, which are tentatively
scheduled to be released in October.
Our goal remains to review and approve grant applications later this year. If
the training program curriculum is quickly developed and student cohorts are
recruited and assembled in short order, we could conceivably be running training
programs in early 2014. Concept to design to implementation in less than 5
months; that is moving Wisconsin workforce development (Fast) Forward!
DWD submits Administrative Code to the Legislature
The Office of Skills Development has received approval from the Governor's
Office and has submitted the final draft rules for Wisconsin Fast Forward to the
Legislature for consideration. During the Administrative Rule review process,
OSD has received feedback and recommendations that have been incorporated into
the final draft.
OSD will continue to work collaboratively to ensure that comments from partners
and the public are incorporated at all steps of the process to ensure a
transparent, accountable program that is responsive to employer needs. OSD's
objective remains to have clear and concise Administrative Rules that
effectively guide employers and applicants through the grant administration
process. The target date for having approved Administrative Rules is early fall.
Wisconsin Fast Forward Grant Process Explained
The Wisconsin Fast Forward grant process will commence with Grant Program
Announcements (GPAs). Each GPA will be developed based upon employer identified
workforce needs, economic analysis and research, confirmed sector or
geographical skilled worker shortages, and an extensive review of current and
projected labor market data. Additional input will be provided by our strategic
partners including the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the Wisconsin
Technical College System and the local workforce development boards. The Grant
Program Announcements will address a confirmed skilled workforce need that is
not currently satisfied through existing workforce development or educational
The announcement will provide opportunities for grant applicants to obtain funds
for developing and delivering employer-driven training programs for unemployed,
underemployed and incumbent workers. The announcements will target a diverse
cross-section of Wisconsin's economy, encompassing various sectors, clusters and
geographies that would provide a maximum return on investment from the training
Grants will be awarded through a competitive application process and will be
open to employer-led consortiums consisting of business, workforce and economic
development partners and training provider. If your company or region has
confirmed a skilled worker shortage or workforce need that has not been
addressed through existing education or training programs, please
Office of Skills Development and initiate an inquiry.