MADISON – Governor Scott Walker announced last week his intent to award more than $28 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grants to the Wisconsin Technical College System.
The grants will go towards the training of more than 4,900 workers for in-demand jobs.
All of the state’s 16 technical colleges will received grant money to focus on training in multiple high demand fields.
The awards are part of Governor Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity initiative, to move Wisconsin’s working families along a path toward greater prosperity and independence.
“Our administration has made worker training a top priority, allocating more than $135 million in new resources to equip Wisconsin workers with the skills needed to fill jobs that employers have available,” said Governor Walker.
“The substantial investment in the Wisconsin Technical College System will help our top-notch technical colleges build the capacity to train thousands of workers across the state with skills we know are in high demand by employers,” continued Walker.
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will administer the grants, which will add capacity to 100 programs at all 16 technical colleges and accommodate up to 4,908 additional students in training programs.
Training programs cover key industry sectors such as manufacturing, health care, transportation, construction and architecture and education.
Governor Walker signed 2013 Act 139 into law in March of this year as part of his Blueprint for Prosperity initiative following the strong bipartisan support of the State Legislature.
The legislation allocated an additional $35.4 million in funds to the Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training program with a focus on three areas;
Reduction of wait lists at Wisconsin technical colleges for high-demand fields.
Collaborative projects between high schools, technical colleges, businesses and other partners to increase opportunities for high school pupils to earn industry-recognized credentials.
And, enhancing the employment opportunities of workers with disabilities.
In May, DWD awarded more than $2.1 million in grants to train high school pupils in school-to-work programs and is currently seeking grant applications with up to $1 million available to train workers with disabilities.
Technical colleges submitted initial lists of programs for grant consideration earlier this year. DWD developed objective, data-driven measurement tools and processes to validate wait lists for grant eligibility purposes, evaluate each technical college’s funding requests, make award decisions and monitor taxpayers’ investment.
Grant funds can be used for expenses such as course development, instructor wages and purchase of consumable materials. Funds cannot be used for financial aid, tuition or capital improvements.