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Wisconsin Fast Forward Close to Launch

Office of Skills Development is Working with Local Partners to Identify Skill Gaps

DWD submits Administrative Code to the Legislature

Wisconsin Fast Forward Grant Process Explained

Wisconsin Fast Forward Close to Launch

photo of DWD Secretary Reggie NewsonBy 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

a photo of Scott Jansen, Director of Office of Skills DevelopmentBy 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 programs.

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 programs.

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 contact the Office of Skills Development and initiate an inquiry.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, PO Box 7946, Madison, WI 53707-7946 (608) 266-3131

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