Investing in Workers
Our people are our state's most valuable asset. The people of Wisconsin are good, honest, hard-working folks. They are among the most educated and ethical workforces in the world. But far too many Wisconsinites are separated from the family-supporting jobs they want by an ever-increasing skills gap. The Walker administration is bridging that divide by helping workers get the skills they need for the jobs they want. Included in those initiatives are significant increases in investments in workforce training, technical colleges, and K-12 STEM education.
In the 2013-15 budget, we increased state aid to technical colleges by $5 million. Also, the Walker administration funded program expansion in Wisconsin's highest-need fields. We’re also following through on recommendations from the College and Workforce Readiness Council to start students on academic and career plans. This individualized plan, developed and frequently revised by parents, teachers, and guidance counselors, will help ensure every child is on track to graduate with not only a diploma, but also a plan.
Wisconsin's new Fast Forward program provides worker training grants to employers, apprenticeship sponsors, and technical colleges to prepare workers for jobs available today and in the years to come. Wisconsin Fast Forward will make grants available to support employer-led worker training. The Department of Workforce Development is developing a cutting-edge labor market information system to chart demand and adjust policy appropriately. Not only will the system provide real-time labor intelligence, but it will also serve as an effective forum to connect job seekers and employers with available jobs.
These initiatives are representative of a broader effort across Wisconsin state government to equip workers for the jobs of the 21st century and continue to move Wisconsin forward.