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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
Wednesday, May 27, 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

Fox Valley IT Innovation Academy Students Succeed Through Governor's Wisconsin Fast Forward Training Initiative

APPLETON – This week, students taking part in a Fox Valley-based school-to-work training program showcased the skills they developed and will now be able to put to use in the workplace. The students took part in the Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA) 6 Information Technology (IT) Innovation Academy, which was made possible with a grant from Governor Scott Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) – Blueprint for Prosperity initiative.

Last year, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) awarded a $60,000 grant to CESA 6 in Oshkosh for its IT Innovation Academy to train 15 high school students for careers in Software Design and Development or Network and Hardware Technologies in partnership with Fox Valley Technical College and the Appleton Area, Kaukauna Area, Kimberly Area, Little Chute Area and New London School Districts.

Student training included team-based application development with support from industry mentors. Software designs focused on bettering society and included creating project plans, identifying financial resources, and developing wireframe and high level functionality. On May 26, projects were unveiled during team presentations at Skyline Technologies' Appleton Center.

DWD Secretary Reggie congratulated the students for their accomplishments, stating: "Governor Walker's Blueprint for Prosperity initiative is making strategic investments in Wisconsin's youth through innovative school-to-work grants that prepare students for postsecondary education and employment success. Funding supports talent development for in-demand careers by effectively transitioning students from academics to the workforce while earning college credit, state skill certification, and real world work experience."

Graduates of the academy have earned a DWD Youth Apprenticeship (YA) Certificate of Occupational Proficiency and an ACT WorkKeys certification, a regionally endorsed employability certificate. They will also be provided work placement opportunities at local businesses.

"The IT Innovation Academy represents a great first step in preparing students to pursue careers in an area of high demand. Skyline is excited to play a role in the program by engaging with the high school students and helping to prepare them for future digital careers with a mix of technology, creativity and business," said Mitch Weckop, CEO of Skyline Technologies.

Governor Walker signed the WFF program into law in 2013 following the Legislature's overwhelming bipartisan support, making $15 million available in worker training grants. In March 2014, Governor Walker signed legislation under his Blueprint for Prosperity initiative to invest an additional $35.4 million in WFF to reduce technical college wait lists in high-demand fields, enhance employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and support collaborative school-to-work projects. To date, DWD has issued intent to award over 80 High School Pupil Worker Training grants to train and employ over 2,000 high school students.

To learn more about the IT Innovation Academy and other CESA 6 YA opportunities, contact Tania Kilpatrick at (920) 236-0531 or tkilpatrick@cesa6.org. For information on Blueprint for Prosperity school-to-work grants, visit: http://www.wisconsinfastforward.com/prosperity/pupil/.

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