Job Training and Job Openings
This spring, construction workers are planning to break ground on a new Mills Fleet Farm distribution center in Chippewa Falls, which will bring hundreds of new jobs to our area. The Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation estimates there will be around 325 workers in the facility within five years. This is good news for our area but there is a flip side to the issue, which is many jobs go unfilled due to a lack of skilled applicants.
Governor Walker has made jobs and a stronger workforce a priority in this year’s budget. The Governor proposed grants that would be awarded based on an organization’s ability to increase the workforce and the skillsets of their participants. This requirement makes those groups that receive the grants responsible for performance while also giving individuals the best opportunity to succeed.
For example, a provision in the budget would allow the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to award grants as part of the state’s Fast Forward Program. Some of these grants will go toward training students until they can be awarded training certificates. These certificates would be acknowledged by high-demand industries so students can add this certification to resumes and gain the training necessary for specific jobs.
Grants would also go towards programs directly benefiting our area. One of these grants would be awarded for establishing a nursing program for middle school and high school students considering the career. Another would go towards training students to become teachers. A third grant would increase the number of students placed in internships in various different jobs. With a growing need for people in industries like nursing in the Chippewa Valley, these grants will help fill these in-demand positions.
For people in areas where access to educational and training resources are limited, it can be difficult to get into the workforce or re-enter if they lost their job. To address this, the Governor proposed that DWD create mobile classrooms to help underserved folks develop job skills and learn high demand trades. This program will also establish mobile classrooms in prisons so that inmates can receive the help they need to get back into the workforce and hold full time jobs again. These classrooms would eliminate some obstacles for inmates reentering society and also provide them with the means to become highly qualified applicants for this position.
Another helpful budget proposal that incentivizes job training is a grant program that helps homeless people. The state would award grants to municipalities to help homeless people transition to full time employment. The grant amount can be up to $75,000 and favors municipalities that partner with nonprofit organizations to provide additional support and guidance for the people within the program. Not only will this help get more people into the various industries lacking workers across the state, but it will also give homeless people an opportunity to earn money rather than struggling to get by.
It is great to see new jobs coming to the Chippewa Valley, but we also need to make sure that areas residents have the training they need for those jobs. The grants and other proposals in the state budget will help to ensure that happens. I look forward to supporting this and other efforts that will strengthen our workforce and our economy moving forward.