State announces $20M in regional job training, wage subsidy programs

By: - November 15, 2021 1:13 pm
Mural depicting workers

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)

State officials rolled out the details Monday of a $20 million project to provide training and temporary wage subsidies for 2,300 Wisconsin residents.

The Worker Advancement Initiative project is intended to re-employ people thrown out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to help draw into the workforce people who have been unable to establish steady jobs before the pandemic.

The money “will support folks working to overcome challenges specific to their community and their family and help get workers back in the workforce so we can ensure our state’s economic recovery,” said Gov. Tony Evers in a statement Monday from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announcing specifics of the program.

Amy Pechacek, DWD secretary-designee, said the funds “will help people most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The funds are being awarded to the state’s 11 regional workforce agencies. Job-seekers will receive training as well as temporary wage subsidies through participating employers.

Job and training opportunities include machinist training, construction, the hospitality industry, health care, manufacturing, information technology, tourism, and child care and early childhood education.

Many of the regional programs also include additional support for participants, such as mental health services and other forms of assistance. Several are focused on people who have been marginalized in the job market, including formerly incarcerated people, people in treatment for alcohol and other drug addictions and survivors of domestic violence of sexual assault.

The regional workforce development boards will operate the programs in collaboration with other local nonprofits. The workforce boards consist of community, employer and labor representatives and also administer federal training funds.

The project is one of three elements in a $130 million package of projects to address major workforce challenges that Gov. Tony Evers announced this summer. The funds are part of Wisconsin’s allotment from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the federal pandemic relief legislation enacted in March.


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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary.