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DWD logo

Tony Evers, Governor
Amy Pechacek, Secretary-designee

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

May 25, 2022
CONTACT: DWD Communications

DWD Announces $700,000 in Wisconsin Fast Forward Worker Training Grants

Latest WFF awards benefit seven employers and estimated 383 current employees and job seekers

Graduates from the 2022 Aspirus Riverview Project SEARCH class pose for a photo with DWD Assistant Deputy Secretary Danielle Williams.
Pictured is Amy Upthagrove. Her training was initially sponsored by the MKE Tech Coalition with help from WI Fast Forward funds, she is pictured at TekSystems (MKE Tech member, RA Employer Sponsor, WI FF Grant Partner), and has been hired by another one of our members, Concurrency as a Registered Apprentice.

MADISON – Department of Workforce Development Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek today announced nearly $700,000 in Wisconsin Fast Forward grants to fund employer-led, customized worker training benefiting employers, workers and communities throughout the state.

"These awards will benefit seven employers as well as an estimated 383 individuals, either current job holders or job seekers who will receive training they need to succeed," Pechacek said. "This is the latest in a series of strategic investments Governor Evers is making to sustain Wisconsin's robust economic recovery and strengthen Wisconsin's workforce for decades to come."

The funding includes an information technology sector grant of $398,840, awarded to the MKE Tech Hub Coalition. Formed in 2019 to inclusively double the region's tech talent, the Milwaukee-based, nonprofit organization today works collaboratively with more than 120 organizations in that effort.

MKE Tech Hub will partner with Apprenti and Max Technical Training to provide 26 individuals with the training required to assume a role as a registered Cyber Analyst apprentice at employers throughout southeastern Wisconsin. In addition, MKE Tech Hub will partner with TekSystems to provide 24 individuals with the training required to assume a role as a registered IT Service Desk apprentice and apply what they are learning on the job at client sites.

"On behalf of our members, we are thankful for the generosity and support from the Department of Workforce Development," said Laura Schmidt, the coalition's chief talent development officer. "This grant directly supports employers across southeastern Wisconsin interested in expanding available pathways into tech careers. Subsidizing the cost of related instruction that can be customized and delivered prior to apprentices starting on-the-job training is one of many strategies needed to effectively scale registered tech apprenticeship faster than otherwise possible."

Earlier this year, DWD announced nearly $2.2 million in awards through 19 contracted grants serving 43 businesses and nearly 1,500 individuals with customized training projects. The projects are all collective efforts involving the department's regional and local partners in workforce development, such as technical colleges and community-based organizations.

In the months ahead, DWD will be awarding more grants. The Division of Employment and Training is currently reviewing grant applications recently submitted for $3.1 million in funding available for more customized worker training projects.

Wisconsin Fast Forward grants range from $5,000 to $400,000. Awards require a 50% cash or in-kind employer match. The grant program is open to all industry sectors. The training must provide transferrable skills. Individuals eligible for training are current employees, underemployed workers, and the unemployed.

The program sets the following thresholds to receive funding. At a minimum:

In addition to the MKE Tech Hub award, the nearly $700,000 in contracted awards just announced are:

Learn more about Wisconsin Fast Forward.


Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development efficiently delivers effective and inclusive services to meet Wisconsin's diverse workforce needs now and for the future. The department advocates for and invests in the protection and economic advancement of all Wisconsin workers, employers and job seekers through six divisions – Employment and Training, Vocational Rehabilitation, Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights, Worker's Compensation and Administrative Services. To keep up with DWD announcements and information, sign up for news releases and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.