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.
The 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.
Governmental entities, non-profits and tribal governments are eligible to apply for the grants. Approximately $40.5 million is available in Round 2. Applications for Round 2 opened on February 22, 2022 and closed on April 18, 2022. Award announcements will be made in Summer 2022. Round 1 awards totaling up to $59.5 million were announced in December for 12 recipients. Read more about the projects funded by the first round of grants.
Applications must address a region’s most pressing pandemic-related workforce challenge and offer an innovative 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
Among the projects funded in the first round of grants are public-private partnerships to train and attract healthcare workers throughout rural Wisconsin; develop next-generation advanced manufacturing employees in west-central and southeast Wisconsin; expand affordable, high-quality childcare in northeast, south, and south-central Wisconsin; create pipelines of young, educated workers in Milwaukee; train construction and skilled craft workers throughout the state; foster a culture of entrepreneurship in southeast Wisconsin; and enable incarcerated individuals to earn undergraduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin.
The Workforce Innovation Grant Program rewards creativity, promote sustainable regional collaboration and fosters local accountability and participation to address the regional workforce challenges resulting from the pandemic’s extended period of labor disruption.