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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, March 26, 2015
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 Presents WI's Talent Development Innovations to National Audience of Economic Development Experts

Wisconsin one of four states presenting in webinar covering economic and workforce development

MADISON – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson joined economic development leaders from across the nation during a webinar today to discuss ways in which states can align talent development and economic development to ensure a strong pipeline of skilled workers that will continue to meet the needs of employers now and in the years to come.

Secretary Newson joined leaders from workforce system leaders in Michigan and Kentucky for a webinar panel led by Sara Dunnigan, the Executive Director of the Virginia Board of Workforce Development. The webinar, titled "Economic & Workforce Development: Meeting the Needs of Employers," drew an audience of approximately 50 thought leaders from more than a dozen states across the country.

"Wisconsin has cemented its credentials as thought leaders in programs such as Registered Apprenticeship, Youth Apprenticeship and Vocational Rehabilitation, and now Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward program is garnering national attention as a model to deliver skills training to address skills gap and help employers remain competitive," Secretary Newson said. "I'm happy to share the positive message of what is working here in Wisconsin with thought leaders across the nation as other states consider their future workforce needs."

Since taking office in 2011, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has invested more than $135 million in workforce development throughout Wisconsin, and his 2015-17 biennial budget includes additional investments to expand Wisconsin Fast Forward, help more vocational rehabilitation consumers reach their employment goals and sharpen the state's focus on work-readiness and talent development.

The webinar was hosted by Whittaker Associates, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in data analytics to forecast firms that are likely to expand, relocate or consolidate, as part of a program called the Professional Learning Laboratory (PLL). The purpose of the PLL is to host commercial free webinars on cutting edge topics to professionals training engaged in economic development.

"We were interested in finding examples of economic and workforce development collaborating to meet the needs of employers in light of the 2014 Workforce Investment Act passed by Congress in 2014 which encourages this type of collaboration," said Dean Whittaker, President and CEO of Whittaker Associates. "Wisconsin was chosen because it has been referenced as a leader in this area and as an example of where this type of collaboration is taking place."

The webinar is the latest in several examples of Wisconsin's talent development practices garnering attention from other states. On January 28-30, 2015, national and international apprenticeship experts convened in Wisconsin for a summit to develop an action plan to advance Wisconsin's Registered Apprenticeship program as a national model for future innovations.

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