Walker Signs Bill to Close Skills Gap
By Patrick Lynn
Governor Scott Walker has signed a bill designed to close the state’s skills gap.
The “Wisconsin Fast Forward” bill signed by Governor Walker Wednesday provides $15 million in grant money for technical colleges and universities that focus on training students in high-demand fields. The bill authorizes the Department of Workforce Development to administer the grants, which may require matching funds from businesses requesting the training, and also creates a database to match job vacancies with qualified unemployed workers.
The bill is just the first step leading towards more job creating, the governor said.
“We’re going to do as much as we possibly can to make sure that we’ve got people with the skills needed to not just fill jobs today but more importantly the jobs of tomorrow,” Walker said.
The bill was first announced in Walker’s bienniel budget in February and was overwhelmingly passed by the state legislature.
The governor’s biennial budget also calls for job training for able-bodied people on Food Stamps and “smart and targeted investments” in the UW System, the Wisconsin Technical College System, and traditional K-12 education.
The budget also invests in areas of immediate need, such as training for health care-related jobs in rural and high poverty areas.