The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that the Wisconsin Workforce Development Association (WWDA), a consortium of the eleven state workforce development boards, will be partners in a $6 million Workforce Innovation Fund grant for their Skills Wisconsin project. The grant award will be made to the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin, who will serve as grant administrator for the grant.
Nearly $147 million in grants were awarded to 26 grant applicants with grant awards ranging from $1 million to $12 million. Additional partners and collaborators with WWDA on Skills Wisconsin are the Wisconsin Technical College System, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and Wisconsin Economic Development Association, and local economic development organizations.
Skills Wisconsin is an initiative to improve industry-driven worker training services, and will concentrate on a demand-driven model of workforce development. The activities will result in improved job placement capacity, which will be a win for both businesses and job seekers. Partnerships with business will be strengthened as a result of real-time, intensive information sharing by the many entities that interact with those businesses, and the effort will enhance and expand industry partnerships and training along career pathways in manufacturing throughout the state by development of new training models and curricula built upon the insights from these business partners. This communication will enable workforce development entities to improve business outreach, assessment, and service of business and industry workforce needs throughout Wisconsin. Additionally, this effort will allow for better recruitment and placement of job seekers to available job opportunities state-wide, and aid businesses in meeting their hiring demands.
Locally, the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (NCWWDB) will serve as one of four pilot regions during the initial deployment of Skills Wisconsin. While acting as a pilot region, NCWWDB will test the state-wide communication network and engage in partnerships around demand-driven business services, building of industry partnerships, and enhancing skills training. Best practices will also be developed during the pilot period in coordination between and across workforce development programs and economic development entities as well as the translation and application of business needs when it comes to developing the content of skills training.
“NCWWDB is very pleased to have this opportunity,” said NCWWDB’s Executive Director Rene Daniels. “This grant will enable NCWWDB to utilize new tools and resources to further collaborate with economic development partners and enhance services to employers in North Central Wisconsin. We will continue to work with the Wisconsin Workforce Development Association, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development in implementing an industry-driven, demand-based workforce development system.”
The North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board is a public/private partnership between government and business that provides over-sight to area Job Centers and plans, administers and coordinates Workforce Investment Act (WIA) employment and training programs in the North Central Wisconsin counties of Adams, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Portage, Vilas and Wood. The board’s purpose is to provide policy, planning, oversight and funding for local workforce development programs and address workforce issues for job seekers and employers as they emerge within the region.
For more information about the Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund grant awards, visit dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ETA20121237.htm. For more information on the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, visit ncwwdb.org.