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Wisconsin Fast Forward Sees Strong Employer Participation

OSD Announces $7.5 million in Grant Program Announcements

Round 1 Awards

Round 2 Grant Program Announcements

Application Information Sessions

Wisconsin Fast Forward Sees Strong Employer Participation

photo of DWD Secretary Reggie NewsonBy Reggie Newson, DWD Secretary

Since Governor Walker signed the legislation creating the Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training program, DWD has moved quickly to implement the legislation, opening the initial round of grant applications with announcements in November 2013 at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.

The Office of Skills Development (OSD) received a total of 37 applicants representing over 80 employers from 35 Wisconsin counties requesting more than $4 million dollars for innovative training programs. Following a comprehensive grant evaluation process involving OSD staff and partners from the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), and a local Chamber of Commerce, we are announcing our intent to award a total of $2.6 million in grant awards. Award letters will be sent to grantees, who, upon acceptance of the award, will sign a training contract with DWD detailing their commitment to employment and/or wage outcomes.

The funds will go to train unemployed, underemployed, and incumbent workers for employer-defined needs at employers large and small around the state of Wisconsin. From training workers on the latest technologies in construction to awarding industry-recognized certifications, to new employees at Wisconsin manufacturers, the training efforts being funded will lead to well paying, family-supporting jobs for Wisconsin workers.


OSD Announces $7.5 million in Grant Program Announcements

a photo of Scott Jansen, Director of Office of Skills DevelopmentBy Scott Jansen, Division of Employment & Training Administrator/OSD Director

During the initial round of grant announcements, the Office of Skills Development has heard from employers around Wisconsin excited about the opportunities to train workers for jobs in high-demand industries. One item I learned from Round 1 is that a demand for skilled workers expressed in the grant applications for manufacturing, customer service, and construction occupations was just the beginning. Employers are seeking skilled workers in a wide variety of disciplines -- many pivotal to Wisconsin's transformation into a 21st century, talent-based economy.

To that end, labor economists and experts from DWD and the Department of Revenue joined with representatives from WEDC and WTCS to identify additional high-demand industries where a pressing need exists for skilled workers. As you'll notice in this newsletter, we've identified health care, information technology, financial services, and transportation and logistics occupations as additional sectors that can apply for worker training grants in Round 2 of the Wisconsin Fast Forward program.

Additionally, noting the importance of small businesses in job creation, the Office of Skills Development is making $500,000 in grant funds available for any small business in Wisconsin with 50 or fewer full-time employees to design and submit market relevant worker training programs. Our desire is to ensure that Wisconsin start-ups and small businesses can hire and train the skilled workers they need to grow in today's global economy.


Round 1 Awards

Following the Round 1 announcement by Governor Walker on November 6, 2013, of $2.7 million in available training grant funds, the Office of Skills Development (OSD) received an overwhelming response from employers eager to train workers. Employers sponsored 37 applications representing a total of 88 companies in Wisconsin requesting more than $4 million to train incumbent or new employees.

OSD convened a Grant Evaluation Committee, consisting of OSD staff and representatives from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), and a local Chamber of Commerce to review, score and prioritize applications.

Based on the recommendations from the Grant Evaluation Committee, the Office of Skills Development announced its intent to award a total of $2.6 million in grant funds. Visit the Wisconsin Fast Forward website to visit the award summary for the first round of grants.


Round 2 Grant Program Announcements

The Office of Skills Development is releasing the following series of Grant Program Announcements today in response to the overwhelming demand in the first round of grant program announcements. Visit WisconsinFastForward.com for application information and deadlines. The online applications for the second round of grant program announcements will be available March 1, 2014.

  • Health Care and Related Occupations:
    • Company Size: Any
    • Total Available Funds: $2 million
    • Award Amount: $5,000 - $400,000
    • Match: $1 applicant: $1 Wisconsin Fast Forward
    • Deadline: April 10, 2014

  • Information Technology Occupations:
    • Company Size: Any
    • Total Available Funds: $1.5 million
    • Award Amount: $5,000 - $400,000
    • Match: $1 applicant: $1 Wisconsin Fast Forward
    • Deadline: April 8, 2014

  • Manufacturing Occupations:
    • Company Size: Any
    • Total Available Funds: $1 million
    • Award Amount: $5,000 - $400,000
    • Match: $1 applicant: $1 Wisconsin Fast Forward
    • Deadline: April 1, 2014

  • Transportation, Logistics, and Distribution Occupations:
    • Company Size: Any
    • Total Available Funds: $1 million
    • Award Amount: $5,000 - $400,000
    • Match: $1 applicant: $1 Wisconsin Fast Forward
    • Deadline: April 3, 2014

  • Financial Services Occupations:
    • Company Size: Any
    • Total Available Funds: $1 million
    • Award Amount: $5,000 - $400,000
    • Match: $1 applicant: $1 Wisconsin Fast Forward
    • Deadline: April 3, 2014

  • Construction Trades and Related Occupations:
    • Company Size: Any
    • Total Available Funds: $500,000
    • Award Amount: $5,000 - $75,000
    • Match: $1 applicant: $1 Wisconsin Fast Forward
    • Deadline: April 1, 2014

  • Wisconsin Small Businesses:
    • Company Size: 50 full-time employees or less
    • Total Available Funds: $500,000
    • Award Amount: $5,000 - $25,000
    • Match: $.50 applicant: $1 Wisconsin Fast Forward
    • Deadline: April 10, 2014


Application Information Sessions

In the coming months, the Office of Skills Development will be posting training and application information on the website. Please visit WisconsinFastForward.com to access resources.


Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, PO Box 7946, Madison, WI 53707-7946 (608) 266-3131
http://dwd.wisconsin.gov

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