Department of Workforce Development
201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 18, 2014
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce
Deputy Secretary Barry Highlights Governor Walker's Worker Training Investments, Improving Economy at Workforce Development Month Event
Joins La Crosse job center partners at new location offering job seekers, employers better service
LA CROSSE – With the latest job figures underscoring Wisconsin's improving economy, Jonathan Barry, Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, told La Crosse area partners today Governor Walker's workforce investments and initiatives ensure continued growth benefiting working families, employers and communities across the state.
"As Wisconsin's unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 2008 and the latest actual jobs data shows Wisconsin added over 28,700 private sector jobs during the 12-month period ending in March 2014, we need to do everything we can to help Wisconsin's working families fill openings that employers have available in our improving economy," Deputy Secretary Barry said. "Today we celebrate the recent opening of the Workforce Development Center, which represents the culmination of many partners to build a workforce that moves the La Crosse region forward."
Speaking at a job center open house event on behalf of Secretary Reggie Newson, Deputy Secretary Barry said the Governor's workforce investments of $135 million and his Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) initiative will encourage continued growth as workers gain new skills and employers expand operations. Initially approved and later expanded with the Legislature's strong, bipartisan support, WFF provides grants to fund customized, employer-driven worker training. Deputy Secretary cited two WFF-funded training projects benefiting La Crosse area workers and employers:
- A $121,835 WFF grant awarded to Western Technical College to provide workers at Trane, Mid-City Steel, and Chart Energy & Chemicals new skills for welding jobs in great demand.
- A $44,600 grant to Wisconsin Operating Engineers to providing training to workers employed by five excavation companies, including St. Joseph Contracting in La Crosse, in the use of high-tech, GPS surveying instruments in major construction and excavation projects.
Earlier in the day, DWD released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary estimates for August, showing an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent, its lowest level since October 2008. In another DWD release, quarterly BLS employment figures showed a gain of 28,712 private sector jobs from March 2013 to March 2014.
The Workforce Development Center open house was part of Workforce Development Month, which Governor Walker proclaimed for the month of September. The center opened June 30 at 2615 East Avenue South in the East Ward Commerce Center.
The new site offers improved services for job seekers and employers with all DWD and partner programs under one roof. The DWD Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) now shares the same La Crosse location with Division of Employment and Training (DET), which includes DET staff from Job Service, Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, Office of Veterans Services and Office of Economic Advisors.