Governor Scott Walker has signed off on the Wisconsin Fast Forward program, aimed at filling Wisconsin's "skills gap."
The $15 million two-year project will upgrade computer systems at job service offices and provide grants to train new and current employees. The governor signed the bill in Oshkosh at Jay Manufacturing, a welding and metal manufacturing company. Matt Jameson, president and CEO of the company, spoke of the importance of having a modern workforce before introducing Walker.
"The days of walking into a company like this and simply pushing a button or repeatedly stamping on a foot pedal to make things go up and down — those days are over. Many of the machines on this floor cost more than a million dollars, and we're not going to put just anyone on those machines."
The training grants will be administered by the state Department of Workforce Development. When it comes to job creation and retention, Governor Walker said that Wisconsin's Fast Forward legislation is even more important than the mining legislation signed earlier this week.
"We're going to give that competitive edge to our employers, particularly in manufacturing but in other areas as well…to say, 'If you want to grow hear, we're going to help you get the people with the skills needed to fill those positions, and we're going to help you continue to stay here.'"
Walker has admitted he most likely will not meet his goal of creating 250,000 jobs in his first term as governor.
The Fast Forward legislation sped through the legislature with bipartisan support in a matter of weeks.