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Wisconsin: Innovators In Workforce Development

Wisconsin has one of the strongest labor forces in the country, with record low unemployment, high workforce participation, and 36,000 more people working now than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Workforce Innovation Grant (WIG) program develops leading-edge, long-term solutions that enable businesses to find workers and empower those workers to successfully prepare for careers.

But the strength of Wisconsin’s recovery has highlighted longstanding workforce challenges that it shares with other states. To help address these challenges, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) created the Workforce Innovation Grant (WIG) program to develop leading-edge, long-term solutions that enable businesses to find workers and empower those workers to successfully prepare for and connect to the family-supporting careers in their regions.

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n Wisconsin, the Workforce Innovation Grant program has awarded more than $128 million in 27 grants to addressing workforce challenges including child care, barriers to entry, health services, housing, career pathways. (Photo: iStock, courtesy of Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.)

 

WIG is helping regions of Wisconsin solve their most pressing workforce challenges by financially supporting innovative, collaborative, and sustainable pandemic-recovery plans. Thus far, WIG has awarded more than $128 million in 27 grants that are addressing universal workforce challenges including child care, barriers to entry, health services, housing, career pathways, entrepreneurship, and transportation.

The Workforce Innovation Grant Program rewards creativity, promotes sustainable regional collaboration, and fosters local accountability and participation to address the regional workforce challenges resulting from the pandemic’s extended period of labor disruption.

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These are locally driven projects—developed by business, community, and education leaders—designed to meet their local workforce needs. The public-private nature the solutions are critical to their long-term success, recognizing that no one sector—businesses, governments, universities or tech colleges, or non-profits can go it alone.

“These grants have created powerful coalitions of businesses, nonprofits, and state and local governments to address the workforce challenges that could hold Wisconsin back,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes.

Additional Workforce Incentives. The Workforce Innovation Grant Program is just one way the state of Wisconsin is working to solve some of the most important challenges. Wisconsin’s more than $128 million commitment to developing workforce solutions also includes two additional programs:

  • The Worker Advancement Initiative offers subsidized employment and skills training opportunities with local employers.
  • The Worker Connection Program provides support for individuals attempting to reengage in the workforce and expand their opportunities in the post-pandemic economy.

Visit www.wedc.org for more information.

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