Applications open February 22 for second round of Workforce Innovation Grants

Up to $40.5 million in grants available to promote local and regional solutions to workforce challenges

MADISON – Applications will open February 22, 2022 for the second round of Workforce Innovation Grants of up to $10 million for local and regional projects that will help meet workforce needs of the state’s next generation, Governor Tony Evers announced today. The Workforce Innovation Grants program provides a total of $100 million to communities to develop long-term, game-changing solutions so businesses can find workers, workers can connect to jobs and that Wisconsin can prosper, Governor Evers said. In December, Governor Evers announced the first round of 12 Workforce Innovation Grant recipients, who will receive up to a total of $59.5 million.

“The people of Wisconsin are hard workers by nature – it’s in our DNA – so with record unemployment and the lowest unemployment count in state history, we are working to find creative solutions. and sustainable solutions to the most pressing workforce challenges facing our state,” he said. “In the first round, this program provided critical funds to expand access to childcare services for working families, increase job training and retraining opportunities, and foster entrepreneurship in communities. I look forward to awarding grants in this second round to projects that continue to remove barriers to employment for workers in our state.

The first round of projects funded by the Workforce Innovation Grants include public-private partnerships to train and attract healthcare workers throughout rural Wisconsin; develop the next generation of advanced manufacturing employees in West Central and Southeast Wisconsin; expand affordable, high-quality child care in Door County, Green County, and south-central Wisconsin; create pipelines of educated young workers in Milwaukee; train skilled construction workers and tradespeople across the state; fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in Kenosha; and enable incarcerated individuals to earn undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin system.

The Workforce Innovation Grants Program provides grants ranging from $250,000 to $10 million to regional economic development partners to design and implement innovative plans to address the most workforce needs in their communities.

The grants, which are funded by federal money from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA), will be available to nonprofit or government entities to help implement collaborative and innovative plans to address the challenge of hand -the most urgent work in a specific region.

Grant funds can be used to support local workforce needs, such as child care, transportation issues, worker upskilling and retraining, or career counseling and support services. coaching, and can be used to support initiatives such as training, planning, marketing or pilot program development. which can be applied in other communities. Grants cannot be used to replace existing public resources.

The grants are administered as an interagency effort between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes, DWD Secretary-designate Amy Pechacek and other Cabinet Secretaries met with first-round grant recipients to learn more about the projects and how the state can guarantee their success.

“The most exciting part of these grants is how communities have come together and truly crafted unique and game-changing solutions that will meet their current and long-term workforce needs,” Secretary Hughes said. .

“To capitalize on Wisconsin’s unprecedented economic turnaround and make full use of our potential talent, this next round of Workforce Innovation Grants will support regional partners as they work to address local challenges,” said DWD Secretary-designate Amy Pechacek. “In addition to removing barriers to employment, we are excited to see how these grants will be used to connect workers with in-demand skills and rewarding employment opportunities.”

Grant applications, frequently asked questions and program guidelines will be available on the WEDC website at wedc.org/workforce-innovation-grant. A webinar on the updated application process is scheduled for 12 p.m. CST on Tuesday, February 15.

Applications for Round 2 grants are due no later than 5:00 p.m. CST on April 15, 2022, with awards announced in summer 2022.

About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads the state’s economic development efforts in advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities, and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Visit wedc.org or follow WEDC on Twitter @WEDCNews to learn more. About the Department of Workforce Development The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development effectively delivers effective and inclusive services to meet the diverse current and future needs of Wisconsin’s workforce . The department advocates for and invests in the protection and economic advancement of all Wisconsin workers, employers, and job seekers through six divisions – Employment and Training, Vocational Rehabilitation, Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights, Worker’s Compensation, labor and administrative services. To follow announcements and information from DWD, sign up here to receive press releases and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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