Mural depicting workers painted on windows of the Madison-Kipp Corp. by Goodman Community Center students and Madison-Kipp employees with Dane Arts Mural Arts. (Erik Gunn | Wisconsin Examiner)
In the last batch of state grants for programs to address persistent workforce shortages in Wisconsin, six projects across the state will share in more than $30 million for training and for addressing problems that have been identified as potential work barriers, including housing, child care and transportation.
Gov. Tony Evers announced the grants Wednesday. They were part of the administration’s $130 million commitment to address the gap between availability of workers and the needs employers have expressed to fill job vacancies. With the latest announcement, the total investment has reached $150 million, according to the governor’s office. The funds are drawn from the state’s $2.5 billion coming from the American Rescue Plan Act federal pandemic relief legislation enacted in 2021.
The grants announced Wednesday include:
- $3.2 million for the Waupaca County Economic Development Association to be used for 24-hour workforce transportation services in Waupaca and Outagamie counties.
- $6.5 million for Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin. In collaboration with Fox Valley Technical College and Rawhide Youth Services, Goodwill plans to enlist 200 trainers at the college who will provide career pathway programs to participants in local men’s and women’s shelters using a curriculum that is geared to working with people who have experienced trauma in their lives. The project will encompass Calumet, Outagamie, Waupaca, Waushara and Winnebago counties.
- $4.2 million to MobiliSE, an agency in Milwaukee, Washington, Ozaukee and Waukesha counties that develops transportation pickup locations for working parents and plans to provide child care centers and job centers on certain Milwaukee bus routes.
- $5 million to the Local Initiatives Support Corp. in Milwaukee County to build affordable homes for early childhood education teachers, aiming to address shortages in child care as well as workforce housing.
- $5 million to the Community Relations-Social Development Commission in Milwaukee to provide training for child care workers, including intensive services to remove barriers that might prevent the trainees from completing the program.
- $9 million to the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin. The 53-county agency will provide training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to work in manufacturing and hospitality.
In announcing the programs, Evers said they met the goal of providing regional and local solutions to the state’s workforce gaps while also reducing barriers that have kept some people from joining the workforce.
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