Economic development leaders examine Wisconsin workforce challenges


FITCHBURG (WKOW) — Economic development leaders and local business owners held a roundtable Friday to examine the state’s workforce challenges.

Earlier this week, Gov. Evers directed $130 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to address Wisconsin’s worker shortage problem and assist unemployed people search for a job.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) say some of the biggest problems are employee recruitment and retention.

“What the pandemic really showed us is that there are other obstacles in getting to work whether it’s child care, transportation, and so these grants are meant to help solve those problems on a regional and local basis,” said WEDC Secretary and COE Missy Hughes.

$100 million of the grant money will go toward a workforce innovation program for the development of solutions to workforce challenges the state faced after the COVID-19 pandemic. $20 million will go to a worker advancement initiative that will offer about 2,000 unemployed people subsidized employment and skills training opportunities with local employers. $10 million will go to a program that provides workforce career coaches to help people find jobs.

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