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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

Thursday, November 20, 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

Secretary Newson Highlights Governor Walker's Talent Development Strategies in Remarks to Superior Business & Education Leaders

SUPERIOR – Offering a preview of greater collaboration to come, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson said today DWD and its partners will focus even more on worker training and talent development in the year ahead.

With Governor Walker set to begin a new term, Secretary Newson said Wisconsin will build on the success of the Governor's worker training initiative, Wisconsin Fast Forward. He addressed business and education leaders attending a Superior-Douglas County Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

"Worker training and talent development remain key to Governor Walker's agenda to grow the state's economy, and that requires greater collaboration with business and education, our UW campuses in particular," Secretary Newson said. "As Wisconsin's talent development agency, we are committed to building the workforce to move Wisconsin forward, using all the tools available, from new innovations such as Wisconsin Fast Forward to longstanding on-the-job training programs. The goal is to create multiple career pathways to success."

Wisconsin's unemployment rate is the lowest since October 2008. Claims for unemployment benefits are at their lowest levels since 2000. As further evidence of Wisconsin's improving economy, DWD's online employment site, JobCenterofWisconsin.com, currently has nearly 78,000 job openings statewide. In addition, Forbes magazine ranks Wisconsin as best in the Midwest for future economic growth.

In two years, Governor Walker has directed more than $135 million in workforce investments, funding that includes his Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative to deliver customized, employer-driven training to job seekers and incumbent workers. The strategic investments also increased state funding for dual enrollment programs allowing high school students to take technical college courses, for reducing wait-lists for technical college training, and for more employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

DWD has announced WFF grants exceeding $6 million, funding projects to help over 6,600 workers gain skills for new jobs or jobs with higher pay. The customized training projects approved so far involve 172 businesses throughout the state. In the weeks ahead, DWD will begin awarding a third round of grants with up to $8 million available for training.

Earlier in the day, Secretary Newson toured Charter NEX Films and the Superior campus of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College.

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

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