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
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

Monday, July 26, 2021
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

DWD Announces That it is Now Accepting Applications for the Worker Advancement Initiative

MADISON – Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Amy Pechacek announced that DWD is now accepting grant applications from local workforce development boards (WDBs) for the much-anticipated Worker Advancement Initiative.

The Worker Advancement Initiative will serve people whose previous employment has not come back post-pandemic, as well as those who were not attached to or were not successful in the labor market prior to the pandemic, by offering subsidized employment and skills training opportunities with local employers. The program builds on the success of current transitional jobs programs in the state by launching a new, statewide effort to provide subsidized work opportunities to approximately 2,000 individuals. DWD will administer the program through local WDBs in partnership with community-based organizations.

Clients served will benefit from a continuum of services, including:

"We continue to hear from unemployed workers, regional employers and community leaders, and it is very clear that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming workforce challenges that are specific to an area,” Gov. Tony Evers said. “Listening to the people who are acutely aware of what's going on in their neighborhood and providing them the support they need to overcome the challenges that are specific to them is all part of connecting the dots to build a stronger, more vibrant Wisconsin.”

The Worker Advancement Initiative is one of three programs introduced by Gov. Evers with his groundbreaking $130 million investment in workforce solutions. All funds will be invested into Wisconsin’s workforce to connect unemployed or underemployed workers with new opportunities while also incentivizing innovative solutions to regional workforce challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The three programs include:

The Worker Advancement Initiative is the first program to be rolled out. Gov. Evers has committed$20 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the U.S. Department of Treasury through the Wisconsin Department of Administration toward the Initiative. This funding will allow DWD to award grants to the WDBs to provide subsidized employment and skills training opportunities to participants, including a focus on those who will be co-enrolled in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs. The purpose is to leverage existing resources available through the greater workforce system to connect participant job seekers more effectively to employers and allow them to obtain enhanced case management and training services.

"This $20 million investment can effectuate real, positive change at a very local level," DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said. "The local workforce boards keep a pulse on what's happening in their community and we are excited to listen and learn about the innovative solutions they will bring to encourage and enable more folks to participate in the workforce."

Only Wisconsin WDBs are eligible for funding and this project will be supported, in whole, by a federal award awarded to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development via the Wisconsin Department of Administration by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

DUE DATE: Applications for funding are due to DWD no later than 5:00 p.m. Central Time on Friday, August 13, 2021.

Learn more about the Workforce Solutions Initiative