RIVER FALLS — Gov. Tony Evers today announced more than $5 million in grants through the second round of the Workforce Innovation Grant Program will be awarded to the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP) and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, through the University of Wisconsin (UW) System Board of Regents, for training efforts that support long-term solutions to Wisconsin’s healthcare workforce challenges.
“While no industry or community has been immune to the workforce challenges facing our state, one of the hardest hit industries these last few years has been without a doubt our healthcare industry,” said Gov. Evers. “Prioritizing programs that help ensure a strong future for our healthcare workforce has never been more important, and I am thrilled to be announcing funds to support two critical programs that are not only helping individuals find successful employment in the industry, but ensuring we have the workforce to teach the next generation of healthcare providers as well.”
This announcement comes as the governor earlier this week proclaimed National Nursing Assistants Week in the state of Wisconsin and builds on the governor’s previous efforts to support nursing assistant training for more than 160 members of the Wisconsin National Guard to provide relief to long-term care facilities throughout the state. Just last month, the governor also announced a $6 million expansion to the state’s successful WisCaregiver Careers workforce development program, which will expand the current program and recruit qualified employers to host as many as 3,000 new CNA training slots. Funds will support employee recruitment and success through retention bonuses, employer reimbursement and success bonuses, and mentorships.
The first round of Workforce Innovation Grants were announced in December 2021 when the governor announced 12 regional projects would receive up to $59.5 million in grants. Last summer, Gov. Evers announced a groundbreaking $130 million investment in workforce solutions across the state. The second round of Workforce Innovation Grants brings that total investment to more than $158.5 million, including:
- More than $128 million for the Workforce Innovation Grant Program to encourage regions and communities to develop leading-edge, long-term solutions to the workforce challenges the state faces in the wake of COVID-19;
- $20 million toward the Worker Advancement Initiative, which offers subsidized employment and skills training opportunities with local employers to unemployed individuals; and
- $10 million for a Worker Connection Program, which provides workforce career coaches who will connect with individuals attempting to reengage in the workforce post-pandemic.
While Wisconsin continues to see workforce shortages that existed long before the pandemic began, last week, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary employment data for the month of May, which not only showed Wisconsin’s unemployment rate continues to remain below the national average at 2.9 percent but also a historic high of 3,059,300 Wisconsinites employed.
On Tuesday, Gov. Evers announced the first three recipients of the second round of the Workforce Innovation Grant Program. Additionally, earlier today, the governor announced three more grant recipients that are working to expand youth apprenticeship opportunities, provide upskilling in advanced manufacturing, and offer scholarships for students pursuing careers in education. Further recipients will be announced on a rolling basis, and a full list of grant awardees will be released in the coming days. The two projects the governor announced today will receive a total of up to $5 million in grants through the second round of the Workforce Innovation Grant Program, and include:
WISCAP | up to ~4.9 Million
Serving more than 48 counties statewide, WISCAP plans to use these funds to help low-income individuals enroll in training and education for careers in the healthcare workforce. WISCAP will offer services such as covering tuition and other expenses and providing added counseling and support. CNA participants will also be able to train on-site at a long-term care facility.
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay | up to ~376,000
Serving Brown, Manitowoc, and Winnebago counties, UW-Green Bay plans to use these funds for a co-clinical instructor program that will expand nursing faculty capacity through a new clinical placement collaboration between local healthcare employers and the University’s nursing program. This would be the first program of its kind to be offered in the state of Wisconsin with the capacity to provide regional capacity for clinical training to 152 nursing students over the project period.