Program goal:

The goal of the Workforce Innovation Grant Program is to help the regions of Wisconsin solve their most pressing workforce challenges by financially supporting collaborative, sustainable and innovative pandemic-recovery plans developed by regional organizations.

Program description:

WEDC DWD logoThe Workforce Innovation Grant Program is a collaboration between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The program provides up to $10 million grants to regional organizations to design and implement innovative plans that help solve the workforce challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has caused in their regions. This program encourages the development of leading-edge, long-term solutions that enable businesses to more easily find workers and empower those workers to more successfully prepare for and connect to the family-supporting careers in their regions.

Both non-profit and governmental entities are eligible to apply for the grants, which will be awarded in two rounds. Applications for Round 1 are due no later than 5:00 PM CST on October 25, 2021, with awards announced in mid-November 2021. Program dates and application details for Round 2 will be announced in 2022.

Applications must address a region’s most pressing pandemic-related workforce challenge and offer a solution specific to the region’s need. These may include, but are not limited to:

· Training and/or reskilling initiatives for in-demand jobs

· Career counseling or coaching services

· Access to transit or broadband solutions

· Childcare solutions or supportive services

For example, a region suffering from low workforce participation during the pandemic because of a shortage of reliable childcare could develop a solution to address its childcare needs. A community that had workforce disruptions during the pandemic due to insufficient transportation options could develop a solution to provide reliable transportation to connect available workers with open jobs. A local industry trade group could develop a proposal to invest in and develop registered apprenticeship training opportunities to attract or retain workers in industries important to their region. Or a rural municipality may propose a broadband solution to the challenges presented by the pandemic’s necessity of increased remote work.

The Workforce Innovation Grant Program will reward creativity, promote sustainable regional collaboration and foster local accountability and participation to address the regional workforce challenges resulting from the pandemic’s extended period of labor disruption.


Register for the Workforce Innovation Grant Program webinar to learn more about how to submit your application.


Unable to join the informational webinar on September 22? View a recording of the September 14 webinar here.


The Workforce Innovation Grant Program is a collaborative effort by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Download the application guide to review important information before starting the application process. Then use the APPLY button below to be directed to the application portal to submit your materials.

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The Workforce Innovation Grant Program is just one way the state of Wisconsin is working to solve some of the most important challenges in your region. Wisconsin’s $130 million commitment to developing workforce solutions also includes two additional programs:

Learn More
  • The Worker Advancement Initiative offers subsidized employment and skills training opportunities with local employers.
  • The Worker Connection Program provides support for individuals attempting to reengage in the workforce and expand their opportunities in the post-pandemic economy.