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Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

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
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

Wednesday, November 12, 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

DWD Leadership Tours Job Center Serving Menominee Nation, Highlights Governor Walker's Worker Training Agenda

KESHENA – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today congratulated regional partners for their efforts to advance worker training, support new employment opportunities and renew collaborations to reopen a job center in Keshena serving the Menominee Nation and other area residents.

"Governor Walker's worker training initiative, Wisconsin Fast Forward, is helping job seekers across the state build skills to gain employment and meet the needs of employers," Secretary Newson said. "Two projects supported by Wisconsin Fast Forward are under way in Menominee. What's more, with a renewed collaborative spirit and committed partners, we are reopening a job center in Keshena and look forward to future collaborations with the Menominee Nation."

Joining partners at the Keshena job center reopening and dedication today, DWD Deputy Secretary Jonathan Barry cited two Wisconsin Fast Forward-funded (WFF) projects involving the College of the Menominee Nation and Menominee Tribal Enterprises: a $208,750 grant to train 250 workers as home health aides, and a nearly $30,000 grant to train 40 individuals for logging industry jobs with five area employers. He noted that anyone who successfully completes WFF worker training is assured a job if they don't have one or a pay raise if they are employed.

To date, DWD has distributed 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.

Menominee County has been without a job center for eight years. Since then, Job Service programs have been available through the Shawano County Job Center. However, DWD and its workforce partners remained committed to opening a job center at a new location. Earlier this year, the College of Menominee Nation agreed to provide space and computers at no cost if the Bay Area Workforce Development Board (WDB) would provide funding to staff the center.

"Really, the beauty of this is that the partnership stayed together, even though they didn't have a job center," said Betty Gregory-Paasch, Bay Area WDB Program Operations Manager. "They would meet quarterly, talking about the possibilities. The college certainly needs to get credit for stepping forward."

In addition to the college, the partners involved in reopening the job center at the new site include representatives of the Menominee Nation, the county, DWD Job Service, DWD Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), Menominee DVR, Forward Service Corp., Bay Area Board staff and Menominee Tribal Enterprises.

With Natasha Chevalier as Job Center Director and a part-time assistant, the center has regular hours throughout the week, plus some evening and Saturday hours. The center provides the core Job Service programs available at other job centers, including basic job search assistance, career counseling and other support services. The new job search took, Skill Explorer, also is available at the center, as well as access to JobCenterofWisconsin.com, the DWD online labor exchange site that currently has more than 77,000 job openings statewide.

To learn more about the Job Center system and available services, visit: https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com/default.aspx.

To learn more about Wisconsin Fast Forward, visit: wisconsinfastforward.com

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