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MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today unveiled a multi-agency effort to equip small construction businesses with the tools they need to access capital and find qualified workers to compete for Wisconn Valley-related projects. Two capacity-building sessions targeting smaller contractors -- including those owned by women, minorities and veterans -- will be held in Milwaukee and Racine in August.

"We want to ensure that Wisconsin businesses of every size and background have an opportunity to make the most of the unprecedented economic development project that Wisconn Valley offers," said Governor Walker. "Construction of the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park is estimated to create tens of thousands of direct and indirect construction-related jobs. Filling these jobs will require harnessing the expertise and skills of the state's entire contractor community to meet the sheer scale and ambitious timelines of Wisconn Valley-related development projects."

The Small Business Capacity Building Sessions are designed to help small businesses break down what has been identified in surveys as two significant barriers to bidding for Wisconn Valley projects – lack of access to capital and lack of access to quality, trained job candidates. The sessions are intended to help the State, Foxconn, Racine County, City of Racine, Village of Mount Pleasant, and other partners achieve the Wisconsin First business inclusion goals of at least 10 percent of project contractors being certified small and disadvantaged businesses and a 10 percent of total contracts being Racine County-based contractors.

"These capacity building workshops are designed to help level the playing field for our small certified and disadvantaged businesses by ensuring they have the tools they need to hire and retain qualified workers," said Ray Allen, Secretary of the Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

The capacity building sessions are scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, Aug. 15, from 8 to 11 a.m. at UMOS, Inc., 2701 S. Chase Ave., Milwaukee. Target audience is certified small and disadvantaged businesses, lending institutions, chambers of commerce and other business associations and resources.
  • Friday, Aug. 24, from 8 to 11 a.m. at the SC Johnson iMET Center, 2320 Renaissance Blvd, Sturtevant. Target audience is certified small and disadvantaged businesses, lending institutions, chambers of commerce and other business associations and resources.

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) will be at the sessions to inform attendees on its Contractors Loan Guarantee (CLG) program. The CLG program provides small and disadvantaged businesses access to capital which will better position the companies to compete for construction-related contracts.

“Our program offers a streamlined application process, expanded eligibility and reduced fees to help more general contractors and sub-contractors access capital from local lenders,” said WHEDA Executive Director Wyman Winston. “Through the CLG, WHEDA reduces financial risk to lenders and helps ensure that businesses can obtain funding to pay expenses for working on qualified contracts.”

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will educate attending contractors about ways to access job candidates, tax credits to improve their bottom line, and potential wage subsidies through programs operated by the Department and its regional partners.

The capacity building sessions have been organized by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and WHEDA, in conjunction with the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC), the Legacy Redevelopment Corporation, Racine County, and the Racine County Economic Development Corporation.

The sessions are free, but registration is required. Go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CapacityBuildingWI to register.

More information about the sessions can be found at: https://wisconnvalley.wi.gov/Pages/capacitybuilding.aspx.

More information about WHEDA's CLG program can be found at: www.wheda.com.

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