Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Timeline History: 2000-2010

Food Stamp program in Wisconsin began Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) with the Wisconsin Quest Card.

EBT Quest Card

Child Support Lien Docket implemented (Wisconsin Act 191 and DWD 43) (October 2000). Lien Docket allowed DWD to attach the assets of child support providers who are in arrears with their support payments.


Jennifer Alexander
(Sept. 2000 - Jan. 2003)

Jennifer Reinert

A new campaign was designed to emphasize the importance and need for qualified child care professionals.

A new job order system that made it easier for employers and job seekers to meet their respective employment need by significantly reducing the time and effort required to post job openings.


Scott McCallum (2001- 2003)

Parents who owe back child support might not find a federal tax rebate check in their mailbox. Instead, the rebates are used to pay past due support through a new state-federal tax intercept program.

Secretary Gassman speaks with representitive at Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution Job Fair
October: Secretary Roberta Gassman spoke to local employers and inmates at the third annual Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution Job Fair in Plymouth.

The job fair provided DWD and the Department of Corrections a chance to educate employers, inmates, and the public about barriers inmates have traditionally faced while trying to make a productive transition back into the workforce and the community. At the job fair, about 30 local employers learned many offenders use their time in prison to obtain vocational training in areas such as welding, woodworking, building services, custodial skills, auto detailing, and office software.

At the job fair, Secretary Gassman announced Wisconsin received the Building A World-Class Workforce Award from the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA).

The annual national customer service award honors outstanding achievements by state workforce agencies. The award resulted from a partnership with DWD and the Department of Corrections to develop and deliver training for Wisconsin Job Center staff to better serve customers with an offender background.

November: the Unemployment Insurance Division launched an Internet-based filing option for Wisconsin's unemployed workers. The system makes filing easier, reduces errors and minimizes delays in payment. The system is expected to save a minimum of $240,000 taxpayer dollars per year.

December: DWD played host to labor leaders, management and government officials from the Jeollanamdo Provincial Government of Korea. The delegation also brought along two reporters from South Korea to document the visit. The South Korean delegation came to DWD to gain information on examples of partnerships between industry, labor, education and government.

From left, Myung-Sook Nun, doctoral candidate from UW-Madison, serves as interpreter, with JoAnna Richard, Lucía Nuñez, Karen Morgan and Bill Clingan


Governor Jim Doyle names Roberta Gassman as Department Secretary.

DWD Secretary Roberta Gassman
Secretary Roberta Gassman
(Jan. 2003 - Jan. 2011)

January: JobNet, the State of Wisconsin's labor exchange system operated by DWS, has now been in business for eight years. JobNet is the state's largest source of job openings and has registered almost half a million job seekers. JobNet is available in 128 locations (including 72 Wisconsin Job Centers, plus some Health and Family Services offices and high schools) and on the Internet.

July: DWD was the lead in the resettlement efforts for Lao-Hmong refugees who have been living for many years in a compound in Thailand. Governor Doyle directed DWD to join forces with local and community agencies to provide job training and placement services. Bilingual staff at DWD, workforce development boards, and local and community agencies met with individuals who were ready to enter the world of work, assessed their skills, and worked with the business community to identify jobs for them. Wisconsin gave the refugees access to job training services through W-2 and other community resources. Wisconsin Job Centers are Workforce Investment Act (WIA) one-stop offices providing training and employment-related services for job seekers; and, worker recruitment and job posting services for employers.

Secretary Gassman addresses the group from China
Secretary Gassman addresses the group from China

September: DWD played host to a delegation of young professionals from Shanghai, China. The group visited multiple state agencies to learn about Wisconsin's state government structure and public programs. Two members of the delegation were mentored by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation for six weeks.

On September 24, 2004 the Bureau of Child Support (BCS) received notice from the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) that the KIDS child support data system achieved full federal certification. This tremendous accomplishment encompassed hundreds of automation projects. Many of the projects were developed by workgroups of BCS and county staff working with IT staff defining business requirements, approving automation designs, and testing. BCS was in charge of implementation, including issuing policy directives, creating necessary documents and developing KIDS instructions.

Also in September: the State Unemployment Insurance Tax Enterprise System (SUITES) Wage application was implemented on September 20th. SUITES is the replacement of the core UI Tax and Wage systems and processes. SUITES moves from non-relational mainframe information to relational databases.

The DWD Biennial Budget Request was submitted on September 15, 2004 requesting a total of $2.25 billion in spending authority for the biennium.

October: DWD received the State Council on Affirmative Action award for excellence in diversity achievements. The award recognizes achievement in all phases of equal employment opportunity/affirmative action programs, disability services, retention and upward mobility.

October also marked the one-year anniversary of one of DWD's newest services, the Disability Navigator program, a program to cut the red tape for people with disabilities to get the work supports and services they need to become part of the state's workforce

December: Secretary Gassman joined veterans and DWD workers in celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Local Veteran Employment Representative Program. The program was initiated in 1944, as part of the GI bill by then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt just days after the D-Day Invasion of Normandy. Each year in Wisconsin, 30,000 veterans are served by LVERs (Local Veteran Employment Representatives) and a related effort, the DVOPs (Disabled Veterans Outreach Program), which begun in 1980. The two programs help veterans connect to work and provide employment services such as, counseling, testing, training and searching for job opportunities. Seventy percent of veterans served by LVERs and DVOPs find jobs.


Roberta Gassman and Bruce Markert

DWD Secretary Roberta Gassman presents a plaque to state veterans' coordinator Bruce Markert to commemorate the LVER anniversary.

On June 1, Wisconsin increased minimum wage for first time since 1997. Hourly minimum wage increased from $5.15 to $5.70, first of two-step increase won by Governor.


Gassman introducing Governor Doyle
Secretary Roberta Gassman introducing Governor Doyle at the June 2005 Council on Workforce Investment meeting

On June 1, Secretary Gassman travels to Beloit and Wausau, meets with low-wage workers benefiting from second increase in minimum wage. Wage raised from $5.70 an hour to $6.50, benefiting an estimated 200,000 low wage workers.

On September 1, Wisconsin Council on Workforce Investment adopts new national manufacturing skill standards, making Wisconsin the first state to officially accept the standards recommended Manufacturing Skill Standards Council. Production workers who meet the standards will receive certificates that verify their skills and serve as career visas in an ever changing global economy.

On September 7, Secretary Gassman awards first in a series of Governor Jim Doyle's Safe Lifting Initiative grants, to help train nurses and other health care workers in proper lifting techniques and avoid injuries in caring for patients. Black River Falls Memorial Hospital and Gundersen Lutheran Hospital and Riverfront, Inc., in La Crosse are the first to receive training grants. In all, 18 demonstration projects are being funded with $325,000 in federal WIA aid.


Secretary Gassman addresses a Wausau group on the minimum wage increase

Secretary Gassman watching a demonstration on safe lifting in La Crosse

On February 8, Secretary Gassman outlined the Governor's Working Family Agenda, which was presented as part of the Governor's State Budget on February 13.

  • BadgerCare Plus coverage for every child, allowing low-income families to simply enroll, while permitting those with higher incomes to buy coverage, starting at $10 a month;
  • Expansion of BadgerCare Plus coverage to include low-income adults without children;
  • Launch of the Wisconsin Covenant, a promise to Wisconsin eighth-graders that if they work hard, earn good grades, participate in their community, and be good citizens during high school, they will be guaranteed a spot in one of Wisconsin's universities or technical colleges;
  • Creation of the Department of Children and Families dedicated to improving the lives of children and families. The new agency would draw programs, such as child support and Wisconsin Works, from DWD, and foster care and child care licensing, from the Department of Health and Family Services.

Secretary Gassman speaks to 8th grade members of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley about the Wisconsin Covenant.

Secretary Gassman speaks to 8th grade members of Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley about the Wisconsin Covenant.

On June 30, Governor Doyle Launches the new Department of Children and Families(DCF). The new Department will be Wisconsin's first cabinet agency focused exclusively on promoting the safety, economic and social well-being of kids and families of the state.

The new department brings together under one roof 30 services currently divided between the Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). View DCF press release.

DWD program areas now include Unemployment Insurance, Workers Compensation, Vocational Rehabilitation, Equal Rights, and Employment and Training.


GEF 1 Building
New signage on GEF 1 building, now home to the Department of Workforce Development and Department of Children and Families

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