Gov. Evers announces recipients of $59.5 million in workforce innovation grants

Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 2:40 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The worker shortage is a problem being seen across the country. Here in Wisconsin, funds are being given to various projects to work on long-term solutions for the lack of workers.

Governor Tony Evers announced millions of dollars in grant money at UW-Eau Claire Tuesday.

“With the workforce innovation grant program, we designed it with these challenges in mind to encourage regions and communities to develop leading-edge long-term solutions to the unique workforce challenges in their communities,” Evers said.

12 projects across Wisconsin were chosen for the Workforce Innovation Grant Program.

That includes UW-Eau Claire.

“First, we will be awarding $9.4 million right here to the folks at UW-Eau Claire,” Evers said. “We will invest into the university’s efforts to develop concrete strategies to collaborate with partners, prepare and retain teachers, nurses, and social workers for the region.”

The Chippewa Valley Technical College was also named as a recipient.

“Chippewa Valley Technical College will be receiving up to $10 million for their Restore project,” Evers said.

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt says the funds will be focused on strengthening the workforce in rural areas in northwestern Wisconsin with the help of Mayo Clinic and other partners.

“We saw Wisconsin rural economy’s struggling to keep pace within a fast-changing competitive world,” Schmidt said. “By encouraging talent development, deploying more workers and up-skilling existing infrastructure.”

CVTC’s grant will be used toward a project called Restore.

“Restore focuses on the efforts of restoring, employment through support training outreach recruitment and education,” CVTC president, Sunem Beaton-Garcia said. “This Restore project will implement plans to address the critical workforce shortage in manufacturing across rural areas across northwest Wisconsin.”

CVTC has a number of partners on the project like Bloomer School District.

“The center will be a training center which the school district will have access to, but will also provide training opportunities for our community in a variety of manufacturing fields,” Bloomer School District Superintendent, Brian Misfeldt said.

Governor Evers says with these funds, the Chippewa Valley can take steps to building a stronger future workforce.

The Workforce Innovation Grant Program awarded almost $60 million between the 12 projects. The money will be given out during the course of three years.

During a stop in Eau Claire Tuesday, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced 12 recipients of up to $59.5 million in grants directed towards educating and training the workforce across Wisconsin.

The effort, called the Workforce Innovation Grant program, has $100 million directed to help increase workforce participation and training through regional programs across Wisconsin.

Some of the projects the program intends to fund include training and recruiting healthcare workers in rural Wisconsin, education and development of manufacturing, craft and trade employees, spur entrepreneurship, create child care opportunities in underserved areas of Wisconsin and help people in prison to earn degrees from the University of Wisconsin.

UW-Eau Claire and Mayo Clinic could receive up to around $9.4 million in grants to develop health care, social services and education workers in rural communities. The grants will also help fund education programs to get more nurses into the field and create new degree programs in healthcare fields that are seeing growth, such as psychiatry, healthcare management and public health.

Chippewa Valley Technical College could receive up to about $10 million in grants to develop programs to bring more skilled workers to the state’s labor market while also creating multi-purpose training centers and mobile labs to serve rural areas and high schools.

Mid-State Technical College is also tabbed to receive up to $9 million in grant money to bring skilled trade programs into education and construction of a center that would address areas like manufacturing, engineering and technology for rural west-central and central Wisconsin.

All told, the plan allocates up to $28.4 million in grants to projects in western Wisconsin alone. To see more about the plan, you can visit Gov. Evers’ website.

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