Businesses and organizations across Wisconsin are getting more than $1.65 million in grants from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The grants are part of DWD's Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative that provides targeted funds to support worker training, education, and recruitment.

This year's 13 grant recipients represent a variety of industries, from agriculture to information technology. Wisconsin Fast Forward encourages statewide economic growth by helping employers across the state train workers and fill positions to meet critical needs for a skilled workforce.

"In addition to serving employers, these Industry Sector Worker Training Grants offer a path to well-paying jobs for unemployed workers and higher wages and more opportunities for growth for current employees," said DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek.

Wisconsin Fast Forward connects employers with local or regional economic development organizations, workforce development boards, post-secondary institutions, nonprofit organizations, and private training providers. The program aims to enhance equity and economic opportunity across the state by giving preference to projects that recruit socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including veterans, people with disabilities, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, people with lower incomes, and ex-offenders.

An additional $10 million in funding for Wisconsin Fast Forward is part of Gov. Tony Evers' Badger Bounceback agenda, which was unveiled last week in his biennial budget. The additional money will support training for individuals, businesses, and organizations affected by the pandemic.

"These additional dollars will allow DWD to continue to fund effective training for those out of work and those looking to advance in their industry by providing new, transferable skills for the unemployed and employed alike," Secretary-designee Pechacek said.

Construction:

DWD issued a grant of $108,200 to SOFTEC Education, Inc. (Burnett County), which is partnering with Train Skills Management, LLC to train 12 unemployed trainees. Specialized training will focus on road building and horizontal drilling processes for utility installation. Organizational partners have committed to offering Union Sponsorships to trainees, a necessary step to receive Union Apprenticeships and provide the trainees additional on-the-job training.

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