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DWD Issues Intent to Award $2.1 million in School-to-Work Grants

Wisconsin Fast Forward -- Blueprint for Prosperity Grants

For More Information

DWD Issues Intent to Award $2.1 million in School-to-Work Grants

photo of DWD Secretary Reggie NewsonBy Reggie Newson, DWD Secretary

When DWD sought grant proposals to support innovative school-to-work models with Wisconsin Fast Forward -- Blueprint for Prosperity funds, it was unclear how much of the $1.5 million that we estimated for the program would be awarded.

I am pleased to announce the volume of grant applications far exceeded our expectations, so much so that we have finalized the intent to award $2.1 million in funding for 30 projects, all of them to prepare a new generation of workers with the skills needed to fill jobs that employers have available.

You may recall that Governor Walker signed legislation this year under his "Blueprint for Prosperity" to provide $35.4 million to expand the DWD-operated Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training grant program into three areas:

  • Grants to support projects that bring together school districts, technical colleges and businesses to provide high school pupils with industry-recognized certifications in high-demand fields. DWD moved ahead on this front and is notifying successful applicants this week.
  • Grants for the Wisconsin Technical College System to reduce waiting lists for enrollment in programs and courses in high-demand fields.
  • Grants to public and private organizations or services provided by DWD to enhance employment opportunities for person with disabilities.

We were encouraged by the enthusiastic response to our grant request for high school pupil projects. Collectively, the training stands to provide some 150 Wisconsin employers with the opportunity to hire workers trained in high-demand fields such as advanced manufacturing, health care and construction. Additionally, the successful proposals include over 900 student trainees under the projects.

An intent to award summary is available at WisconsinFastForward.com

Wisconsin Fast Forward -- Blueprint for Prosperity

In addition to funds to train high school pupils in high-demand fields, Governor Walker's Blueprint for Prosperity initiative also includes funds to reduce waiting lists at Wisconsin Technical Colleges in high-demand fields and programs that support Governor Walker's Year of A Better Bottom Line, which helps workers with disabilities enter the workforce.

DWD has been working closely with Wisconsin's 16 technical colleges on the wait list reduction program and has engaged several stakeholders to develop a grant announcement to enroll workers with disabilities in employer-defined training programs.

Additionally, Governor Walker previously announced that funds from this program will be used to expand the Project SEARCH program from 7 to 27 sites around Wisconsin. The Project SEARCH program is operated by several state-level partners in conjunction with Wisconsin businesses and enable high school student with disabilities to transition into employment.

For More Information

To learn more about this or other Wisconsin Fast Forward -- Blueprint for Prosperity grants, visit the Blueprint for Prosperity section of the Wisconsin Fast Forward website. From WisconsinFastForward.com, select "Blueprint for Prosperity" on the left-hand side.

If you have questions or need further assistance, please contact the Office of Skills Development.

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

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