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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, June 17, 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

DWD Assistant Deputy Secretary Anderson Highlights Governor's Wisconsin Fast Forward Worker Training Initiative in Merrill

Employers, partners encouraged to apply for grants during current round of availability

MERRILL–Today, Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Assistant Deputy Secretary Dave Anderson met with corporate executives, managers and employees of InterFlex Group in Merrill. The company was awarded a worker training grant through Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) program.

"The positive impacts of the Governor's Wisconsin Fast Forward program are spreading through communities throughout the state, including northern Wisconsin communities where employers like InterFlex are critical to the success of the local economy," Assistant Deputy Secretary Anderson said. "We are pleased that Wisconsin Fast Forward will help InterFlex not only equip its current workers with in-demand skills, but will support the training of additional workers as the company expands."

In Round 3 of the WFF program, DWD awarded InterFlex Group of Merrill a $287,500 grant in partnership with Fox Valley Technical College and local, national and international industry vendors to train up to 115 workers in specialized equipment operation to prepare for the transition of out-of-state work into Wisconsin.

InterFlex Group is a flexible packaging manufacturer with facilities in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and the United Kingdom. The company is a market leader in specialty niche fresh and packaged food segments and a supplier to Fortune 1000 global packaged goods companies. Over the past year, the company has invested over $12 million in capital projects and equipment at the Merrill facility, installed new production equipment and hired more than 60 new employees.

"The rapid growth and expansion at our Merrill, Wisconsin facility presented InterFlex with the unique challenge of rapidly developing our existing workforce and being in a position to effectively train 60+ new employees," said Ryan J. Williams, InterFlex Group's Global Vice-President Human Resources who is based in North Carolina. "The Fast Forward Grant funding, and partnering with the state of Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development, allowed us to develop a customized training plan for our employees, which has given us a tremendous opportunity to quickly develop our workforce to meet our strategic business objectives."

In Merrill, Assistant Deputy Secretary Anderson met Mr. Williams and Mark Allan, Vice President of Operations who is based in St. Louis.

Assistant Deputy Secretary Anderson also urged other employers and workforce partners to consider applying for a WFF grant. Up to $8 million is available for customized worker training grants in nine occupational areas as part of Round 4 of Governor Walker's Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) initiative. DWD set the following categories, each with separate 2015 application deadlines and a range of possible grant awards:

For additional fourth round details, visit: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wff/announcements.htm

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