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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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 30, 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

Developing Wisconsin's Workforce: DWD Secretary Visits Students at West Salem High School Highlighting Wisconsin Fast Forward

Students take part in school-to-work program supported through WFF-Blueprint for Prosperity initiative

WEST SALEM – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today visited West Salem High School's school-to-work training program, which is supported by Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward–Blueprint for Prosperity initiative. The program focuses on diesel and automotive technician training.

"Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward-Blueprint for Prosperity school-to-work programs are paying dividends in the form of valuable work experiences for Wisconsin students while ensuring a pipeline of skilled workers based on employer demand," stated Secretary Newson. "The students of West Salem High School are shining examples of this program, and we applaud the school district and other partners who are collaborating on this effort."

DWD previously announced its intent to award the School District of West Salem with a matching grant of $20,000 for its Industrial Technology Career Academy. The Academy's goal is to train 17 high school students for careers as diesel or automotive technicians in partnership with 10 local businesses. Successful trainees will be provided an opportunity to take the ASE Certification test for automotive or diesel technicians, and will be provided placement opportunities at 10 local businesses.

"This program is an excellent example of creating a partnership between public schools and industry to provide high quality career and technical experiences for our students," said Superintendent of the School District of West Salem Troy Gunderson.

The grant is among 30 that DWD announced as part of the Governor's WFF-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.

Students from West Salem, Bangor, Onalaska, and Holmen meet each Tuesday (automotive) and Thursday (diesel) evening for three hours with certified technicians from local businesses to pass automotive and diesel ASE tests. All students have been provided an opportunity to work as youth apprentices for a local business during the school day, after school and on weekends. These students receive high school credit for their evening classroom/shop time, and for their time working in local businesses as youth apprentices.

Jared Novak, West Salem High School student and Career Academy member, who currently works at Dr. J's Car and Marine in La Crescent stated, "The night class has been an amazing experience. We are given a chance to work and learn alongside professionals. I am glad we are lucky enough to have such a cool program for us to learn and also for everyone to have job opportunities as well."

The Career Academy personnel have applied for the grant for a second consecutive year. The additional grant funding would make it possible to train an additional 22 students next year.

Paul Liethen, Academy Lead Instructor and West Salem High School staff member, said: “Our students get an opportunity to work with our industry partners at night class and as youth apprentices during the day. This relationship is providing local businesses with knowledgeable, motivated, and trained employees who are excited about a career in the automotive and diesel areas."

Governor Walker's WFF-Blueprint for Prosperity initiative, announced last year, included $35.4 million to expand the WFF worker training program into three key areas, including increasing industry-recognized certifications in high-demand fields for high school students.

For additional Blueprint for Prosperity details, visit: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wff/prosperity/

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