Gateway Technical College, Boys & Girls Clubs awarded millions for workforce development programs

The teen center at the on & Sallie Davis Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee.

Last updated on December 27th, 2021 at 11:39 am

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers announced today the recipients of nearly $60 million in federal funds, from the American Rescue Plan Act, aimed at developing long-term solutions to the state’s workforce challenges.

Several programs in southeastern Wisconsin received funding through the Workforce Innovation Grant program, which is a collaboration of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and Department of Workforce Development.

Gateway Technical College will receive up to $5.6 million for the Southeast Wisconsin’s Talent Optimization Project. The project will offer a four-week pre-High School Equivalency Diploma program, followed by a 16-week Work Ready HSED program. Courses will be offered in-person and online (both during the day and in the evening), transportation and childcare services will be sourced as needed, and individual case management will provide support services and guidance to keep students on track, according to the announcement.

The goal of the program – which serves Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties – is to address the urgent need for educated workers in high-demand fields and the large number of adults who lack high school credentials.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and partner agencies will receive up to $3.3 million to fund the Ready Center Collective. A partnership of Milwaukee Public Schools, Employ Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Herzing University and more than a dozen employers, the RCC is designed to increase the rate of Milwaukee teens involved in the workforce. The training building will include seven classroom training spaces, and the program will provide teens the opportunity to sample career pathways, immerse themselves in occupational skills training experiences and engage in internships and apprenticeships.

The City of Kenosha will receive up to $990,000 to bring gener8tor’s gBETA program to the city. The program will work specifically with startup founders of color and women founders in Kenosha. gBETA will provide coaching, mentorship and networking needed to develop the workforce of entrepreneurs in the city to build sustainable companies.

The University of Wisconsin System will receive up to $5.7 million to pilot its Prison Education Initiative in six regions of the state, including Milwaukee. The program will teach employable skills to students while incarcerated and support them post-release through program completion and career placement. The program will be run through the UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison and Extended Campus.

The state grant program is funded by $100 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding. A second round of grants will be awarded in 2022.

“Wisconsin has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and we have high labor participation, but our state faces long-standing workforce challenges that existed for years before the (COVID-19) pandemic,” said Evers. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution to addressing the workforce challenges across our state, so these funds are critically important to encourage regions and communities to develop cutting-edge, long-term solutions to the unique workforce challenges they face. These investments will make a big difference for our workers, families, and communities and the long-term success of our state.”

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