AGRA Industries in Merrill among DWD’s Wisconsin Fast Forward grant recipients
Courtesy of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
MADISON – Businesses and organizations across Wisconsin are getting more than $1.65 million in grants from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). The grants are part of DWD’s Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative (www.wisconsinfastforward.com/wff_standard.htm) that provides targeted funds to support worker training, education, and recruitment.
This year’s 13 grant recipients represent a variety of industries, from agriculture to information technology. Wisconsin Fast Forward encourages statewide economic growth by helping employers across the state train workers and fill positions to meet critical needs for a skilled workforce.
“In addition to serving employers, these Industry Sector Worker Training Grants offer a path to well-paying jobs for unemployed workers and higher wages and more opportunities for growth for current employees,” said DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek.
Among the grant recipients was AGRA Industries, of Merrill. DWD issued a grant of $48,080 to AGRA Industries, which will partner with Northcentral Technical College (NTC) to train eight unemployed trainees for welding/fabricating positions and four incumbent trainees. Incumbent trainees will receive a $0.25-wage-increase for each of four levels of training completed. The training will last four months or 640 contact hours. All training and testing will be conducted in-house with a curriculum blended with NTC’s college material and hands-on training and will provide nine college credits and a State of Wisconsin Certified Welder credential to Merrill High School and Antigo High School students.
Wisconsin Fast Forward connects employers with local or regional economic development organizations, workforce development boards, post-secondary institutions, nonprofit organizations, and private training providers. The program aims to enhance equity and economic opportunity across the state by giving preference to projects that recruit socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, including veterans, people with disabilities, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, people with lower incomes, and ex-offenders.
An additional $10 million in funding for Wisconsin Fast Forward is part of Governor Tony Evers’ Badger Bounce Back agenda, which was unveiled last month in his biennial budget. The additional funds will support training for individuals, businesses, and organizations affected by the pandemic.
“These additional dollars will allow DWD to continue to fund effective training for those out of work and those looking to advance in their industry by providing new, transferable skills for the unemployed and employed alike,” Secretary-designee Pechacek said.
For more information and to learn about the next round of WFF grants, visit www.wisconsinfastforward.com/wff_standard.htm.