Program Would Help Workers Close ‘Skills Gap’


A proposal for millions of dollars in job training is beginning its journey through the state Legislature. “Wisconsin Fast Forward” would authorize up to $15 million for workers to upgrade their skills.

“Wisconsin Fast Forward” would provide the money to fill skill shortages in Wisconsin’s job economy. Its co-author is state Senator Robert Cowles.

He says Fast Forward would also spend $3 million to upgrade the state Job Service’s computer system. Now, he says it can take up to two years before an employer is connected with a qualified applicant. By then, Cowles says, the information is out of date.

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“Now, it’s just not timely. I want to point out the data set can also start generating models to sort of predict where young people should get their education. Whether it’s at the university or the technical college or wherever. You have got to have a really good idea that the subject you are studying has some prospects down the road.”

The $15 million in training grants would be spread over two years and administered by the eleven Wisconsin Workforce Development Boards. It’s money that would add to federal grants the agencies already oversee.

Senator Cowles hopes the Legislature approves the package using general funds from the current budget, and keep it separate from the next biennial budget that comes up for debate this year.