Wisconsin agencies and nonprofits can apply for new WEDC grants Feb. 22

About $40 million statewide is on the table for local agencies and nonprofits to apply to improve the chances of area residents getting the training and resources they need to find employment or progress in employment.

Beginning Feb. 22, local organizations can submit proposals to address economic issues in their state area. Grants range from $250,000 to $10 million. The deadline to submit a grant application is April 25.

the Workforce Innovation Grantoffered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. has already donated nearly $60 million to local organizations to address issues such as training, child care, transportation and pilot program development.

According to the WEDC, the first round of projects included public-private partnerships to train and attract healthcare workers throughout rural Wisconsin; training next-generation, advanced manufacturing employees in west-central and southeastern 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.

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In December, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee received $3.3 million to create the Ready Center Collective.

Kathy Thornton-Bias, president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, said the initiative is designed to meet the needs of area employers by increasing the number of high school graduates with work experience. relevant and training in areas of high demand.

“When you think about being a teenager, you’re not sure if you’re ready to commit to a career at that time,” Thornton-Bias said.

One of the rooms in the Ready Center Collective will be a “hospital room” with a bed and other amenities to give teens interested in healthcare an idea of ​​what to expect.

“There will be a hospital bed, the kids will wear scrubs, there will be needles involved, I was told, I’m not sure I like this idea, but the kids want this real experience practice and understand the wealth of jobs that are out there,” Thornton-Bias said.

Thornton-Bias said she has set an ambitious goal to help 10,000 students over the next 2.5 years.

Milwaukee Ald. Milele Coggs, whose district includes the Boys and Girls Club, said the grants could impact families beyond the teens who take advantage of the program.

“Even with the 10,000 (students) they will serve, we know there are so many more young people in this city who need extra help and businesses who can benefit from a workforce. well-trained and skilled emerging work,” Coggs said. adding that if these thousands of young people do not have the resources to fill the vacancies, it will have an impact on businesses in the region. “As we think about the future of this city, they are there. We need to make the investments today so we can have the benefits tomorrow.”

Gov. Tony Evers said in December the grants were intended to give local organizations an opportunity to address issues in their communities.

“We need to recognize that there is no one size fits all solution to meeting the labor needs of our communities,” Evers said. “We could have done something statewide and said, ‘This is what we’re going to do. Instead, we had a grant program where people competed for these resources.”

The money comes from US Bailout Act funds that the state has received from the federal government.

“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 Amy Pechacek, designated Secretary of State. Workforce Development Department, said in a statement. “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.”

After traveling the state and meeting with round one funding recipients, Missy Hughes, Secretary and CEO of WEDC, said local communities are coming together to meet their labor needs.

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

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