LAC COURTE OREILLES RESERVATION — Gov. Tony Evers today announced up to $4.6 million in grants through the Workforce Innovation Grant Program will be awarded to the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians to support water infrastructure in a 32-unit workforce housing development to be constructed by the Tribe in 2025. This housing project will create a variety of housing opportunities and will be situated to ensure residents have direct access to Tribal services, are close to area employers, and have transportation options that fit their needs, including public transportation routes, biking, and walking paths.
“Ensuring folks across our state have access to affordable, reliable housing and clean, safe drinking water is a critical part of our work to connect the dots and build strong communities across our state, and this project is a great example of doing just that,” said Gov. Evers. “This workforce housing initiative has been thoughtfully designed to meet the unique needs of the local community and region, including ensuring that residents will have ample access to Tribal services, transportation, and local jobs. I am proud to support this project to help families thrive, both in the workforce and at home.”
This announcement builds on the governor’s previous investments to support several community development projects with the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. These investments include more than $860,000 through the Equitable Recovery Grant Program and the Beyond the Classroom Grant Program for the Boys and Girls Club of Lac Courte Oreilles to increase staff support and additional resources for youth with a focus on culturally informed mental health programming, more than $3 million through the Neighborhood Investment Fund to construct a new center to serve the Tribe’s elder community, and $5 million through the Healthcare Infrastructure Capital Investment Grant Program to increase tribal health services by making pharmacists more immediately available to clinic providers and patients.
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 $150 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 month, 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 June 21, Gov. Evers announced the second round of the Workforce Innovation Grant Program and met with grant recipients throughout the state, including in Stevens Point, Fennimore, River Falls, New London, and Milwaukee. A full list of grant awardees is available here.