Worker Connection Program

The Worker Connection Program will ensure that eligible individuals attempting to reengage in the workforce have the information and support necessary to overcome barriers that may inhibit their full participation in the labor force and be connected with training programs that lead to high-demand, well-paying careers. This program was proposed in the governor’s 2021-23 budget but removed by the Legislature.

Timeline

  • Program Announcement: July 13, 2021
  • Program Development: In progress

Purpose

Connect individuals looking to expand their employment opportunities in the post-pandemic economy with career coaches who will help them overcome barriers, navigate the workforce system, and connect them with employers to grow in their employment.

Use of Funds

  • The $10 million available will be used to fund up to 40 project position career coaches in two regions of the state.
  • Career coaches will serve as navigators and help participants understand available options, empower career-seekers to make the right choices for themselves, and connect them to employment and supportive services, as necessary.
  • The initiative includes the following key elements:
    • In-demand sector-focused trainings offered in partnership with employers who are ready to hire. Local training opportunities will be focused on sector and employer needs that were impacted by the pandemic and related recession. Employers ensure that the training meets their workforce needs and provide job opportunities to participants.
    • Career coaches will help individuals find the right fit for them in the workforce system while leveraging existing funding resources behind the scenes, including access to supportive services such as childcare, transportation, FoodShare, Badgercare, and mental health and treatment and recovery programs. Coaches are experts in workforce resources and will link people to programs and services offered by community-based organizations, workforce development boards, and DWD.
    • Coaches will maintain communication and offer long-term guidance, answering any questions related to employment and help address any future barriers if they arise.
  • Worker Connections has no restrictions on individual eligibility but will focus on helping those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and related recession, including workers who need assistance in finding jobs with family-sustaining wages and employers in need of workers. This means anyone can get the help they need, including:
    • Anyone facing job insecurity during and following the COVID-19 pandemic,
    • Anyone working several jobs but not making a family-sustaining wage,
    • Anyone who has never previously worked with DWD, and
    • Anyone who is hesitant to engage with government-related programs, services, or resources.