Life-like “patients” were tucked into beds in each hospital simulation room at Fox Valley Technical College as a group of high school superintendents, employers and representatives of FVTC toured the college’s new Health Simulation and Technology wing with State Workforce Development Sec. Reggie Newson in September. The group was impressed to hear how near real-world medical situations can be played out by students in the wing.
This is where, come next spring, a dozen high school seniors from Waupaca and Wautoma will complete training and testing to become nursing assistants. They’ll start training at FVTC’s Waupaca campus in January and by the end of the school year, receive the required certificate to work as a nursing assistant (CNA). It’s a first step in one of many throughout the state to train high school students for in-demand jobs through the Wisconsin Fast Forward-Blueprint for Prosperity grants.
“We were hearing from employers in Waupaca that there is a need for CNAs,” said Barb Tuchscherer, FVTC’s Allied Health department chair. “This grant is helping them pay for tuition, textbooks, scrubs, shoes” and everything they need to complete their certificate.
They will complete their final labs at the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home in King or Bethany Home, Inc. At the end of their training employers will meet with them on interviewing techniques. Should they decide to advance in the nursing field, she adds, the certificate also allows them to get a head-start with a scholarship up to $1,000 for courses at FVTC.
“Having workforce development boards and community-based organizations partnering with our education providers — including K-12, two- and four-year and technical colleges — is significant so we can find pathways to careers for all Wisconsinites,” Newson said after the tour. “Historically, they have worked in silos with different goals and objectives, and this is really aligning everything.”
The Blueprint for Prosperity, signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker in May, adds $35.4 million to the Fast Forward worker training program. It was developed after surveys conducted by Manpower Group Solutions found a large gap between job openings and available workers in specific industries. The grants target three areas:
» For collaborative projects among high schools and technical colleges. About $2.1 million will go toward programs that create pathways for about 1,000 high school juniors and seniors in more than 30 school districts to get work experience. (The FVTC Rural Partnership for Nursing Assistant and College Success/Employability Skills program, described above, is part of this.)
» To reduce wait lists at technical colleges. Nearly $28 million is allocated for technical colleges to add 4,400 slots for students to train for high-demand fields.
» To enhance employment opportunities for workers with disabilities. About $1 million will go to employers and service providers to create training programs for people with disabilities.
The Fast Forward program is giving workforce training a significant boost, said Jim Golembeski, director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board.
“This is the first time that the state of Wisconsin has put a significant amount of money into Workforce Development,” Golembeski said. “This is really focused stuff — focusing dollars on some very specific (industry) needs over the next seven to eight years.”
One example of a customized training grant under Wisconsin Fast Forward includes $13,745 to Green Bay manufacturer Services Plus to train 21 workers in industrial maintenance in collaboration with the Bay Area Workforce Development Board and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. On Sec. Newson’s behalf, Deputy Sec. Jonathon Barry visited Services Plus in August and met with Service Plus President Mike Schumacher.
“The Wisconsin Fast Forward Program helped Services Plus meet a need for more technical skills in our manufacturing operation,” Schumacher said. “We leveraged $13,000 grant into $26,000 of training for 21 people who collectively will receive over $40,000 each year in higher wages as machine operators. We believe that we will receive a return on our investment through higher productivity for Services Plus, and can’t say enough about what this opportunity means to our employees and their families.”
NWTC President Jeff Rafn, who joined the tour of Services Plus, lauded the training initiative.
“This partnership is about strengthening a great Wisconsin company and investing in our workforce,” Rafn said. “With the help of this grant, we look forward to working with Services Plus, Inc. to offer their employees the education and training that is so valuable for career development.”
Barry toured another company that will benefit from Wisconsin Fast Forward on the same day, America’s Service Line, with FVTC President Susan May. That company received $11,500 to train five incumbent workers and 20 new hires to become driver trainers and commercial vehicle operators, with FVTC providing the training.
Barry encouraged other companies to submit proposals for the next round of Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants. In addition to September deadlines for manufacturing, construction and transportation training grants, the DWD Office of Skills Development set the following categories, each with separate deadlines and a range of grant awards:
» Oct. 7: Financial Services Occupations and Information Technology Occupations, $5,000 to $400,000
» Oct. 14: Customer Service Occupations, $5,000 to $400,000
» Oct. 21: Agriculture and Related Occupations and Health Care and Related Occupations, $5,000 to $400,000; and small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees, $5,000 to $50,000.
ON THE WEB
For information on upcoming grant deadlines, visit: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/wff/announcements.htm
$1M grant to enable training for 75 at NWTC
Grants of more than $1 million from the Wisconsin Fast Forward program will go to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to train up to 72 workers for the following in-demand fields:
» $381,897 to train 24 students to be machine tool operators and CNC technicians
» $288,994 to train 24 students in nursing
» $154,393 to train 12 students in practical nursing
» $257,369 to train 12 students in web and software development
$1.2M grants to help train 120 at Moraine Park Technical College
Grants of more than $1.2 million from the Wisconsin Fast Forward program will go to Moraine Park Technical College to train up to 126 workers for the following in-demand fields:
» $193,460 to train 18 workers in Manufacturing: Tool & Die Technology Apprenticeship
» $755,476 to train 75 workers in Manufacturing Skills Academies: Industrial Maintenance, General Production Assembly, Automation, Robotic Welding
» $134,177 to train 15 workers in Health Care: Medical Coding
» $134,884 to train 18 workers in Manufacturing: CNC/Tool & Die Technology (DOC lab)
$1.3M in grants to train 350 at Lakeshore Tech
Grants of more than $1.3 million from the Wisconsin Fast Forward program will go to Lakeshore Technical College to train 352 workers for the following in-demand fields:
» $164,004 to train 36 workers in Manufacturing: Introduction to Industrial Maintenance
» $204,629 to train 48 workers in Manufacturing: General Manufacturing/Production (MSSC)
» $194,174 to train 24 workers in Manufacturing: Industrial Technician Automation
» $182,107 to train 40 workers in Manufacturing: Basic Food Production and Manufacturing
» $160,369 to train 24 workers in Manufacturing: Mid-level Food Production and Manufacturing
» $196,109 to train 100 workers in Information Technology – Industry Certifications
» $82,639 to train 20 workers in Health Care: Nursing Assistant
» $200,499 to train 60 workers in Law, Public Safety & Security: Basic EMT
$3.6M grant announced to train 850 at FVTC
Grants of more than $3,602,392 from the Wisconsin Fast Forward program will go to Fox Valley Technical College to train 856 workers in the following high-demand areas:
» $811,125 to train 168 workers in Transportation: Professional Truck Driving
» $168,000 to train 40 workers in Health Care: Personal Care Worker Certificate
» $183,919 to train 32 workers in Advanced Manufacturing: Production Welding
» $134,400 to train 16 workers in Advanced Manufacturing: Automation Technology
» $38,278 to train 12 workers in Logistics: Operations Specialist Certificate
» $47,250 to train 30 workers in Health Care: Certified Phlebotomist
» $34,965 to train 32 workers in Transportation: Automotive Collision Repair
» $33,621 to train 32 workers in Transportation: Automotive Technology
» $191,625 to train 8 workers in Health Care: Registered Nurse (LPN to AND pathway)
» $247,800 to train 32 workers in Advanced Manufacturing: Machine Tool Technician
» $13,125 to train 24 workers in Business Services: IT Boot Camps
» $45,450 to train 36 workers in Modernized Agriculture: Precision Agriculture
» $844,200 to train 64 workers in Transportation: Diesel Technician
» $248,850 to train 18 workers in Health Care: Licensed Practical Nursing (CNA to LPN pathway)
» $190,890 to train 120 workers in Health Care: Certified Nursing Assistant
» $168,000 to train 30 workers in Business Services: Office Assistant
» $23,654 to train 32 workers in Advanced Manufacturing: Metallurgy Certificate
» $122,850 to train 30 workers in Business Services: Customer Service/Sales Certificate
» $54,390 to train 100 workers in Health Care: Certification Course for medical Assistant (incumbent workers)