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Scott Walker, Governor
Raymond Allen, Secretary

Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

October 19, 2016
CONTACT: Tom Evenson, (608) 267-7303

Governor Walker Announces Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants for Manufacturing

Luxemburg – Governor Scott Walker visited N.E.W. Plastics Corporation in Luxemburg today to announce newly available Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) Grants for manufacturing occupations. Since 2013, around $18.7 million in WFF Grants have been announced, equipping more than 18,000 current and new workers with high-demand skills.

"When we first took office, one of the greatest challenges we faced was removing barriers to employment for the people of Wisconsin," Governor Walker said. "We've come a long way, and this year, more people have worked in Wisconsin than at any point in our state's history. This is largely due to our investments in workforce development programs like Wisconsin Fast Forward. We're proud to announce another round of Wisconsin Fast Forward grants today, which focus specifically on providing manufacturing training so we can work to bridge the skills gap in this high-demand industry."

N.E.W. Plastics Corporation manufactures containers, plastic lumber, and components made from other prime recycled material. In 2015, N.E.W. Plastics Corporation directly benefited from a WFF Grant awarded to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, which provided training to 19 of their employees.

In 2013, Governor Walker signed into law Act 9, also known as Wisconsin Fast Forward, with strong bipartisan support. The program acts as a catalyst and encourages increased collaboration between Wisconsin's workforce trainers and employers to develop and execute business-led programs. In the 2015-17 biennial budget, the WFF program was allocated $14.8 million in funding to provide employer-focused training grants, which are administered by the Office of Skills Development at the Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

The grants announced today are for manufacturing-specific occupations. Grants ranging from $5,000 to $400,000 will be awarded, and applications are due on December 7, 2016. Interested applicants must include a training program that mitigates an employer's critical workforce problem, addresses a documented workforce demand supported by local, regional, or statewide labor data, and results in training participants finding and retaining employment or incumbent workers earning higher wages.

To learn more about Wisconsin Fast Forward or apply for a grant, visit http://www.wisconsinfastforward.com/.