Workforce grants to boost manufacturing, education, building trades and health care

By: - June 23, 2022 4:23 pm

Help Wanted sign, Madison, Wisconsin, June 1, 2021. (Erik Gunn | Wisconsin Examiner)

Programs in manufacturing, science and technology, education, the building trades and health care will share in more than $11 million in new state grants that Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced Thursday.

The grants are part of the second batch of Workforce Innovation Grants that the Evers administration has been awarding from the American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated to the state. The money is part of a $130 million commitment that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the Department of Workforce Development are undertaking to boost training and employment and to address widespread difficulties employers have reported in hiring workers to fill vacant jobs.

Projects announced Thursday include training to improve skills for existing workers, support for prospective workers who have encountered barriers in connecting with jobs, and programs aimed at encouraging career paths for students still in high school. A separate announcement later Thursday added two health care-related workforce programs. 

The grants include:

  • $4.9 million to the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association to enroll low-income residents in more than half the state to enroll in health care workforce training, and $376,000 to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to expand its nursing faculty by collaborating with local health care employers.
  • $2.9 million for Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, which covers Crawford, Grant, Iowa, Lafayette and Richland counties. The project will provide training for 500 or more employees and support for businesses to hire at least 300 new workers while promoting others already employed, according to the announcement from the governor’s office. It also will include a new manufacturing youth apprenticeship program as well as offering services to help participating trainees and workers who need child care, transportation or other help in order to stay engaged in the workforce.
  • $264,000 for a group of school districts in Columbia, Dane, Sauk, Jefferson and Iowa counties to provide scholarships for students pursuing education careers in return for a commitment to teach in a participating school districts for three years. 
  • $3.5 million for the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County to prepare young people in Dane and Walworth counties for apprenticeships and training in plumbing, electrical work, carpentry and HVAC work. 

Additional projects are to be announced soon, the governor’s office stated.

This report has been updated with additional information announced after it was first published Thursday.


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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.