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Madison – Governor Scott Walker released his Weekly Radio Address today titled “Public Assistance Should Be a Trampoline, Not a Hammock.”

Hi, Scott Walker here.

Last week, I addressed you, the people of Wisconsin, and laid out a few of our top priorities as we approach the next state budget. This includes increasing funding for K-12 public education, making college more affordable, lowering the tax burden on Wisconsin’s families, expanding broadband service, and investing in Wisconsin’s transportation system.

But my top priority for 2017 – and beyond – will be rewarding work so that the people of our state can obtain and thrive in a family-supporting career.

We’ve certainly come a long way when it comes to Wisconsin’s workforce. With this success, we’ve had to shift from focusing on creating jobs, to finding skilled workers to fill them.

Now, workforce development programs like Wisconsin Fast Forward, Youth Apprenticeships, and Project SEARCH are helping to bridge the skills gap, but we need to do even more to get the citizens of our state working.

This means empowering people to move from government dependence to true independence through the dignity that comes from work. And while we’re more than willing to help Wisconsinites who are down and out, we firmly believe public assistance should be a trampoline, not a hammock.

I’m proud to say that more than 21,000 people have gone through our Food Share Employment Training, or FSET, program, and are now working in Wisconsin. This successful job training program not only helps participants fulfill the work requirement for welfare benefits, it provides them with hands-on job training and experience.

That’s great news for Wisconsin taxpayers and employers. But more importantly, it helps FSET participants gain valuable skills and positive control over their lives.

We also require adults receiving public assistance who do not have children at home to be employed, enrolled in a job training program, or actively looking for a job. They also must pass a drug test. 

This is not meant to be a punishment or an effort to prevent people from finding work. In fact, it works to remove barriers to employment. If someone fails the drug test, we help provide rehabilitation so they can get healthy and ready to enter the workforce.

Under Governor Tommy Thompson, Wisconsin was a leader when it came to welfare reform, and other states looked to Wisconsin as an example. This year, we will push the federal government to allow us to go even further, and become a national leader once again.

Rewarding work is our top priority, and we will not stop until everyone who wants a job in Wisconsin can find a job. 

Public Assistance Should Be a Trampoline, Not a Hammock.mp3