Today, Governor Scott Walker announced workforce development priorities for the upcoming 2013-14 legislative session. For the legislative session, the Governor's priorities will be focused on growing our economy, developing our workforce, transforming education, and reforming government. The package of eight workforce development bills are the first in the Governor's legislative agenda and further announcements will be made in the future.
"These bills build on the near $100 million workforce development investment in our budget," said Governor Walker. "We look forward to working with legislators on these bipartisan bills aimed at getting workers the skills necessary to fill available jobs through apprenticeship and additional funding for workers with special needs."
The workforce development package will invest an additional $8.5 million in new state funds and secure an additional $14 million in new federal funds for vocational rehabilitation programs.
The 2013-15 Biennial Budget invested over $100 million in workforce development aimed at equipping workers with the skills they need to find jobs in the modern workforce, including targeted investments in the Wisconsin Technical College System and traditional K-12 education. In addition, the Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative invests $15 million in worker training grants awarded by the new Office of Skills Development. This initiative includes the creation of a new Labor Market Information System, which will connect job seekers and the unemployed with employers in need of workers. It is also aimed at helping students learn about what careers are growing, which will put them in a better position to fill the jobs of tomorrow.
The workforce development bills will include:
Smart investments in apprenticeship training programs;
Vocational rehabilitation services for those with special needs;
Assistance for the unemployed who want to transition into new careers;
Incentives for high schools graduating students with job ready credentials;
Scholarships for high school seniors who excel in career and technical education courses;
Getting state licensees tested, trained, and to work faster;
Helping low-income and low-skilled workers transition into employment;
Tuition reimbursement for apprentices and employers.