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Story by Maya Reese
Regional News Published 02/23/2021 4:49 PM
Madison – Corporations and organizations across Wisconsin have received more than $ 1.65 million in grants from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The grants are part of DWD's Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative, which provides targeted funding to support the education, training and recruitment of workers.
This year's 13 fellows represent a variety of industries, from agriculture to information technology. Wisconsin Fast Forward is fueling economic growth across the country by helping employers across the state train and fill workers to meet critical needs for skilled workers.
“These grants for the training of workers in the industrial sector not only offer employers, but also a path to well-paying jobs for the unemployed, higher wages and more growth opportunities for current employees,” said Amy Pechacek, DWD secretary-designate.
Wisconsin Fast Forward connects employers with local or regional business development organizations, human resource development boards, post-secondary institutions, nonprofits, and private training providers. The program aims to improve equity and economic opportunity across the state by giving preference to projects that recruit socially and economically disadvantaged people, including veterans, people with disabilities, blacks, indigenous and colored, lower-income people and former Offender.
Another $ 10 million for Wisconsin Fast Forward is part of Governor Tony Evers' Badger Bounceback Agenda, which was unveiled in his two-year budget last week. The additional money will support training for individuals, companies and organizations affected by the pandemic.
“With these additional dollars, the DWD can continue to fund effective training for the unemployed and those who want to progress in their industry by providing new, transferable skills for the unemployed and employed,” said Secretary-Designate Pechacek.
Below is a list of 2021 Wisconsin Fast Forward grant recipients.
DWD granted $ 69,050 to Wysocki Produce Farm, Inc. (Portage County), which works with Mid-State Technical College, to provide 76 hours of training in basic electrical skills and safety technologies to 24 established employees. The trainees also learn how to perform preventive maintenance and improve their communication skills. All of this enables the incumbent worker to move from a seasonal to a permanent full-time job.
DWD awarded SOFTEC Education, Inc. (Burnett County), which works with Train Skills Management, LLC, a grant of $ 108,200 to train 12 unemployed apprentices. The specialty training focuses on road construction and horizontal drilling processes for utility installation. The organization partners have committed to offer the trainees union sponsorships. This is a necessary step in order to maintain apprenticeships in the Union and to offer trainees additional on-the-job training.
DWD awarded $ 73,810 to the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (Portage County), which works with Arch Electric, Midwest Solar Power, Pieper Electric, SunPeak, LLC, and Westphal & Co., to help 79 unemployed apprentices and 15 established solar energy workers train photovoltaic skills and occupational safety. The program offers trainees the opportunity to train and test industry-recognized certifications. Training for incumbents provides advanced technical skills and gives them the necessary course hours for advanced industry certifications.
DWD has awarded the MKE Tech Hub Coalition (Milwaukee County) a grant of USD 385,000 to create a new program to recruit 50 unemployed students to take part in a software development training program. Apprenti and Tech Elevator will partner with the MKE Tech Hub Coalition to provide instruction, and Kohl's Corporation will provide on-the-job training and serve as a placement partner for apprentices who successfully complete the program. Manufacturing:
DWD has awarded $ 329,610 to Rockline Industries, Inc. (Sheboygan County's) Sheboygan facility, which has invested in additional technology to meet palm disinfectant wipe requirements due to the COVID pandemic. Rockline will be training 50 unemployed apprentices and 92 current apprentices to operate the new equipment. Unemployed apprentices receive a wage increase of up to $ 2.83 per hour and established apprentices receive a wage increase of up to $ 1.15 per hour after completing their apprenticeship. Rockline will partner with Paper Converting Machine Company, IAS Inc., RA Jones and Co., Sentry, K2 Engineering Group, Kolinahr Systems Inc. and Douglas Machine Inc. to provide training to prepare trainees to operate new equipment and offer processes.
DWD awarded USD 17,500 to GPS Education Partners (Waukesha County). In collaboration with Generac Power Systems Inc, GPS Education Partners offer 15 established employees training courses to support their advancement to the role of Automation Machine Technician. Using GPSEd trainers enables industry credentials to be validated. Apprentices spend 6 hours a week participating in online learning and face-to-face training for 45 days of on-the-job training experience.
DWD has awarded a grant to the Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturers Alliance (CWMMA) (Marathon County), which works with the Greenheck Group, Lemke Industrial Machine, LLC., Crystal Finishing Systems Inc., the Wausau Supply Company, Wausau Window and Wall Systems of 319,200 USD. Wausau Coated and Northcentral Technical College provide training for 100 unemployed and 100 current employees. The training is a flexible, self-determined and motivated program that pays the trainee 500 US dollars after 90 days of successful training and placement. The training consists of 40 hours of online lessons at your own pace, followed by a 20-hour hands-on workshop.
DWD has granted $ 58,000 to Trachte LLC (Dane County), which will work with ManageAssist Inc. to train 110 established employees. The program enables trainees to qualify for professional advancement and earnings. The training courses focus on lean manufacturing, process improvement, quality improvement, lean awareness and dealing with change.
DWD awarded $ 85,710 to ThermTech, Waukesha County, which is providing 114 incumbent workers and three unemployed workers with the training required to become certified in the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). The training includes CMMC materials required to provide products and services to the Department of Defense.
DWD has awarded a $ 48,080 grant to AGRA Industries (Lincoln County), which will work with Northcentral Technical College (NTC) to train eight unemployed apprentices for welding / manufacturing positions and four incumbent apprentices. Acting trainees will receive a wage increase of USD 0.25 for each of the four completed training levels. The training lasts 4 months or 640 contact hours. All training and testing is conducted in-house with a curriculum that is combined with college material and hands-on training from NTC. In addition, students at Merrill High School and Antigo High School are provided with nine college credits and a state-certified Wisconsin welder's card.
DWD has awarded Midwest Prototyping (Dane County) $ 5,225, which will work with Cyber Nines and WMEP Manufacturing Solutions to train 44 established employees. Established trainees will receive wage increases between $ 0.99 and $ 1.64 per hour after completing their training. The training program contains information that is not currently available in traditional training programs and is carried out in five phases. The training is recorded for future use and focuses on cybersecurity and quality training needs.
DWD awarded US $ 53,040 to WEL Companies (Brown County) to launch a mentoring program training 125 established employees to become compliant and legal tractor-trailer operators. Youngest tractor graduates will take part in the mentoring program to gain safety, regulatory, compliance and industry knowledge. The eight-week program will be carried out in three phases and will increase the company's fleet size by 125 new drivers. The established trainees receive a wage increase of up to 8 USD per hour after completing their training.
DWD has awarded a US $ 101,720 grant to the Wisconsin Automotive & Truck Education Association, Inc. (Marathon County), which will work with Northcentral Technical College, to train six current body technicians and six unemployed apprentices. The trainees are accommodated in one of the three Autobody shops in the partnering area. Trainees complete a 30-week program that combines course work and on-the-job training. After completing the training, participants will receive an Auto Collision Basics certification.
For more information and information on the next round of WFF grants, click HERE.