State unveils $19.5M in grants to bolster workforce in manufacturing, forestry

By: - June 22, 2022 6:00 am

Among projects that received state workforce funds Tuesday is one to expand forestry training in northern Wisconsin. (Sarah Brown | Unsplash)

Projects to provide training, bolster job skills and lower barriers to employment in a broad swath of northern Wisconsin will get $19.5 million in support in a series of grants that Gov. Tony Evers announced Tuesday.

The grants are the latest round in a series of programs that the state is funding from federal pandemic relief money that Wisconsin is receiving. They are part of a $130 million commitment that the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the Department of Workforce Development is undertaking to address the chronic difficulty employers in the state have had hiring workers.

The inability to fill jobs, which was already severe even before the COVID-19 pandemic, has become critical in many industries in the last couple of years, exacerbated by the continued spread of the illness.

The state announced Workforce Innovation Grants to three regional projects on Tuesday:

  • Up to $1.7 million to Lakeshore Technical College, which serves Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Manitowoc and Calumet counties, for a project to provide career paths and upskilling targeting underserved populations and reducing barriers to employment.
  • Up to $8 million to the Wisconsin Forestry Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The project, covering Langlade, Lincoln, Menominee, Oneida, Portage, Shawano and Marathon counties, will include programs in public K-12 schools and the Menominee Nation to expose students to forestry careers, add a certified skill-development curriculum to high school forestry education programs that offers an entry to the workforce and provides post-high school training programs.
  • Up to $9.8 million to Northwood Technical College for a manufacturing skills training program for unemployed and underemployed adults, coupled with a project to increase the availability of affordable workforce housing as well as job training opportunities. The project will include Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Polk, Rusk, St. Croix, Sawyer and Washburn counties.

The Evers administration announced a previous group of Workforce Innovation Grants in December. Additional Workforce Innovation Grants are to be announced in the coming days, the governor’s office announced.


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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.