WAUSAU – Governor Scott Walker today joined Wisconsin chamber of commerce professionals from across Wisconsin at the Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Executives Annual Conference to discuss the importance of workforce development as Wisconsin’s economy continues to grow.
“With our unemployment rate at or below 3% for seven consecutive months, it’s clear our state is moving forward, and we need to make sure Wisconsinites have the skills to fill the jobs that are available today and jobs that will be a part of our state’s future,” said Governor Walker. “By investing in education, fabrication labs, youth apprenticeship programs, Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants and many others programs we are making sure there are opportunities for all Wisconsinites to gain the skills to work in high demand fields. With this continued investment and the continued growth of businesses across our state, Wisconsin is ready to win the 21st century.”
The executive conference is the largest professional development opportunity for chamber of commerce executives from throughout Wisconsin. The event serves as an opportunity for individuals to develop professional skills, build relationships and share best practices.
Governor Walker’s workforce initiatives include:
- Fabrication Labs (Fab Labs): Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is helping outfit public schools with equipment that helps students gain skills to work in high-demand careers. Fab Labs are high-technology workshops equipped with computer-controlled manufacturing components, such as 3D printers, laser engravers, computer numerical control routers, and/or plasma cutters.
- Education: Governor Walker invested a historic amount into K-12 education. This historic investment resulted in an extra $200 per student to every school last year, and an additional $204 per student for this coming school year.
- Youth Apprenticeships: Governor Walker has more than doubled Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program since taking office from $1.6 million in 2010 to $3.2 million in 2016. The program is designed for junior and seniors in high schools to gain hands-on experience at a worksite with classroom instruction. In June 2017, the Department of Workforce Development announced a record $3.9 million in Youth Apprenticeship state grants which will serve 4,300 students.
- Wisconsin Fast Forward: Wisconsin Department of Workforce and Development (DWD) provides grants to Wisconsin businesses who provide customized skills training for high-demand jobs. The program was created by Governor Walker in 2013 with bipartisan support. The goal is to train and retain highly skilled Wisconsin workers.
- Wisconsin Career Creator: DWD created the Wisconsin Career Creator Program to improve educational and training opportunities. It is a $20 million initiative that has the support of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), University of Wisconsin System (UW-System), and the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU).
- Talent Attraction: WEDC created a talent attraction campaign that strives to bring veterans, alumni of Wisconsin’s colleges and universities, and millennials to live and work in our state. This will help grow Wisconsin’s workforce and economy.