Stevens Point, WI
(CompNewsNetwork) - Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta
Gassman highlighted Governor Doyle’s Grow Wisconsin – The Next Steps agenda as acrucial
strategy to strengthen the state’s economy in the face of national economic challenges. The
Secretary also highlighted a new series of investments in Wisconsin’s workforce that will
keep the state moving forward.
“Governor Doyle’s latest economic development plan will not only move our state forward
and invest in long-term growth, but it also makes key investments in workforce development
and training,” Secretary Gassman said. “From providing Opportunity Grants to low-income
workers to further their technical school education, to expanding Youth and Adult
Apprenticeship, the Governor’s strategies are exactly what we need to continue training our
workforce and ensure businesses have the highly-skilled workers for tomorrow’s jobs.”
Secretary Gassman visited Marten Machining, which produces key components, tools and
fixtures for manufacturers of medical equipment. The firm participates in Youth
Apprenticeship, a program Governor Doyle is proposing to expand into three new demand
occupations. An expansion would provide apprenticeship opportunities to 300 more high
school students and allow 250 new employers to enter the program.
“Youth Apprenticeship has been a very popular and successful program from the start,
providing students opportunities to explore career options and employers with apprentices
and good recruits for full time jobs after graduation,” Secretary Gassman said. “Governor
Doyle fought hard to double funding and apprenticeship opportunities in the current budget,
and he now wants to expand it further, adding programs in veterinary science, dental
hygiene and construction. By making key workforce investments now, Wisconsin will remain
the state with the best workers 5, 10, 15 years from now.”
Secretary Gassman also noted other workforce development items in the Governor’s Grow
• Opportunity Grants – The Governor is proposing creating a $1.5 million program to help
low-wage workers who have high school diplomas increase their skills with training through
the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS). Grants of up to $1,000 a year would be
available for training in high demand occupations.
• Minimum Wage – The Governor proposes increasing the state’s minimum wage, a raise that
would benefit 230,000 workers, the majority of them women.
• Skills Jump Start Pilot Training Grants – The Governor has directed DWD and WTCS to
use $240,000 in Joyce Foundation funds to help adults lacking a high school diploma
complete their basic education and get job training. The Governor will seek $400,000 to
pilot the program at technical colleges in his next budget.
• Adult Apprenticeship – To meet the increasing demand for skilled workers in the
trades, the Governor proposes four new apprenticeships in plastics, printing, utilities and
health care. The proposed $300,000 investment would open apprenticeship opportunities for
1,000 more individuals.
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