Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784

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Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
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On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Developing Wisconsin's Workforce: DWD Deputy Secretary Highlights Governor's Worker Training Initiatives at Watertown Employer

WATERTOWN – During a visit today to Western Industries Inc., Engineered Products Group, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Deputy Secretary Jonathan Barry congratulated the company and trainees who successfully completed an innovative welding training program supported through Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) initiative.

"Since Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support last year, employers like Western Industries have partnered with training providers and others to develop customized training that is demand-driven and identifies needs in areas such as welding," Deputy Secretary Barry said. "Like Western Industries, dozens of Wisconsin employers are taking advantage of the new worker training grant program to hire or train workers, and Wisconsin's working families are reaping the economic rewards in the form of new job opportunities or higher pay."

Western Industries received a $7,641 Wisconsin Fast Forward grant in March to train current workers in areas of blueprint reading, arc welding techniques, and TIG welding. The investment will also support the training of new welders in proper welding techniques, weld safety, equipment operation and maintenance, and interpretation of weldment blueprints.

During his visit, Deputy Secretary Barry met with Western Industries officials and employees, as well as with instructors from Madison College, which provided classroom and hands-on training to the eight trainees for blueprint reading, arc welding, and TIG welding.

"With funding through the Wisconsin Fast Forward program, and in partnership with Madison College, Western Industries Engineered Products has been able to provide valuable training to build the weld process capabilities and skills of our incumbent welders," said Robert Davis, Director of Human Resources at the Western. "This investment is essential to Western remaining competitive in current evolving product markets, as well as to support new business opportunities. Also, as a by-product of this training we now have a program of training that will serve to qualify new welders as our business grows."

To date, DWD has announced plans to distribute over $6 million in WFF grants, funding projects to help over 6,500 workers gain skills for new jobs or jobs with higher pay. The customized training projects approved so far involve 172 businesses throughout the state.

To learn more about Wisconsin Fast Forward grant opportunities, visit:

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