Governor Walker state legislators who showed overwhelming bipartisan support in passing Assembly Bill 14/Senate Bill 23, which supports workforce development.
"The state that leads the way in closing the skills gap will also lead the way in job creation," Governor Walker said. "This bill is the next step in our efforts to ensure workers have the skills they need to fill the family-supporting jobs available now and in the future. I applaud state lawmakers and their bipartisan support to help move Wisconsin forward."
Governor Walker requested this legislation last month as part of his $100 million agenda to develop the state workforce. He thanked State Senator Rick Gudex (R-Fond du Lac) and State Representative Kathy Bernier (R-Chippewa Falls) for authoring the bill.
Highlights of the Wisconsin Fast Forward legislation include:
· Worker Training Grants: Funds $15 million GPR over the biennium for DWD grants to both public and private organizations, such as technical colleges, Workforce Investment Boards, regional economic development organizations, and Wisconsin businesses, providing training to new and incumbent workers. These matching grants ensure businesses, as well as the state, are invested in the outcome of the worker training programs funded. Other states, including Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, and Texas, currently have state-funded worker training programs; and Wisconsin not having one puts us at a competitive disadvantage.
· Office of Skills Development: Creates the Office of Skills Development at DWD and funds 4.0 full-time positions to administer the worker training grants. With the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, the Technical College System, economic development agencies, and businesses, the Office will quickly adjust training grants to current and changing workers' skill needs and emerging skill clusters, providing workers with a responsive, flexible, and valuable training resource.
· Labor Market Information System: Develops a state-of-the-art Labor Market Information System through the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to track job vacancies and link unemployed workers to openings they are qualified to fill or to training they can complete to become qualified, helping the unemployed return to the workforce faster.
The bill passed the Senate 33-0. The Assembly vote last week was 94-4.