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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 28, 2016
CONTACT: Laurel Patrick, (608)267-7303

Working for Wisconsin: Governor Scott Walker Signs Legislation to Increase Internships within the University of Wisconsin System

Governor Scott Walker signs Assembly Bill 742 into law as a part of college affordability legislative package

La Crosse – Governor Scott Walker signed Assembly Bill 742 into law today at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The bill requires the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to provide student internship coordination and is a part of Governor Walker’s college affordability legislative package, which focuses on making college more affordable for Wisconsin’s working families and students.

"In addition to making college more affordable, it is also important to provide Wisconsin students with hands-on experience in fields they are interested in or want to pursue for their future careers,” Governor Walker said. “Assembly Bill 742 establishes two full-time positions at DWD dedicated to connecting our students with local and state businesses for internship opportunities. This is just one step we can take to ensure the future success of our students, and looking forward, we will continue our work to strengthen Wisconsin’s workforce."

Assembly Bill 742 – as amended, provides two full-time employee positions to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to coordinate internships with higher education and businesses. This bill gives DWD the ability to connect employers to students at universities, technical colleges, and businesses, who collectively represent our future talent pool and creates new opportunities for students to experience first-hand what the workplace is like for their chosen career path. Students will have the opportunity to develop workplace skills, build a foundation for future employment success, and enable more students to build or expand a network with potential future employers and coworkers, thus providing more opportunities for mentorship, professional references, and resume-building experiences. It has been shown students who intern at a business in-state are more likely to stay in Wisconsin. Authored by Representative David Murphy (R – Greenville) and Senator Howard Marklein (R – Spring Green), the bill passed the Assembly with a vote of 60-37 and was concurred by the Senate with a vote of 19-13. It is Act 283.

The College Affordability legislation Governor Walker is signing into law today builds on his tuition freeze for UW System students and families. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, in the ten years prior to the historic four-year tuition freeze, tuition increased an average of 8.1 percent across the UW System. Over that same period, tuition had gone up 118.7 percent prior to the freeze Governor Walker and the Legislature enacted. Compared to the average increases over the prior ten years, across the UW System, students have saved $6,311 due to the freeze. While savings vary by institution, the tuition freeze meant average savings of $2,926 at UW colleges and savings up to $9,327 at UW-Madison.

Governor Walker has also worked with the Legislature to make higher education more affordable for Wisconsinites by creating a scholarship program for high school students who lead their classes in technical education courses, restoring the Wisconsin GI Bill for veterans and expanding it to those with five years of residency, as well as increasing needs-based grants for technical college students by $2 million in the 2013-2014 school year and $1 million for independent colleges. To make it easier for students to complete their degrees, Governor Walker included in the 2013-15 biennial budget a requirement that the UW System and Technical College schools have at least 30 core credits that can transfer between institutions and additionally created the UW System Flexible Degree Program, which offers competency-based learning at a flexible schedule. Governor Walker and the Legislature also indexed the Higher Education Tuition Tax Deduction in the 2013-15 biennial budget, benefiting tens of thousands of students.

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