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

DWD logo

Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

Tuesday, September 9, 2014
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
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On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Blueprint for Prosperity: DWD Secretary Highlights School-to-Work Innovations in Fox Valley, Part of Governor's Worker Training Agenda

MADISON – During visits today to Fox Valley Technical College and New Holstein High School, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today said Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward-Blueprint for Prosperity initiative is supporting innovative programs to help Wisconsin students explore careers in high-demand areas.

"The school-to-work partnerships that the Blueprint for Prosperity is supporting at Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) and New Holstein High School are preparing students for success after high school and helping businesses address their need for skilled workers," Secretary Newson said. "These investments in the next generation of Wisconsin's workforce will keep our state growing and move the economy forward."

Secretary Newson this morning visited the FVTC campus to highlight a $15,973 grant to provide high school students in rural areas with Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training delivered by FVTC. The program will help support the training of high school students in partnership with local school districts and local employers.

"It is great to see grants such as this supporting some of the most rural areas of Wisconsin where employers often find the greatest difficulty in finding individuals with the critical skills they need," said FVTC President Susan May. "We are very pleased to work with Wautoma and Waupaca schools and the area’s health care employers to offer CNA training opportunities to the young people of those communities."

This afternoon, Secretary Newson visited New Holstein High School, which was awarded a $9,040 grant to train 24 high school students as CNAs, in partnership with FVTC. Successful trainees will gain CNA certification and technical college credits and potential placement at several local businesses. Scot Neu, Career & Technical Education Administrator at the high school, was among the people Secretary Newson met, and as Neu described it, the WFF opportunity amounted to a lifeline in a sudden turn of events.

"The Wisconsin Fast Forward grant opportunity completed what became a perfect storm for us the past 11 months," Neu said. "We had a higher-than-usual number of kids express interest in the nursing assistant certification program, and we found it to be more cost effective to work with FVTC to run the classroom portion of the course here at the school. Then the grant opportunity came up to help further mitigate the costs. The icing on the cake were the needs expressed by many of the long-term care facilities in the area for nursing assistants and it became clear this was something long overdue for us to find a way to make happen."

The grants are among 30 that DWD recently announced as part of the Governor's Blueprint for Prosperity initiative and total $2.1 million to develop or expand innovative programs that prepare high school pupils for the workforce or post-secondary education. The training focuses on high-demand fields. The grants cover training for up to 949 high school pupils across the state and could involve employment at up to 153 employers.

Governor Walker's Blueprint for Prosperity is a comprehensive agenda to provide tax relief and invest in worker training to move Wisconsin along a path to prosperity. The plan includes $35.4 million to expand the Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training program into three key areas, including increasing industry-recognized certifications in high-demand fields for high school students.

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