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REP. WARREN PETRYK’S Column

REP. WARREN PETRYK’S

REPRESENTING WI STATE ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 91

September is Workforce Development Month

Each September Wisconsin recognizes and celebrates National Workforce Development Month. This month is an opportunity to highlight the workforce programs we have in place in Wisconsin and to look back at the progress we have made to help our workforce system func- tion more evciently for both employees and employers.

As Chairman of the Assembly Workforce Development Committee, workforce development has been one of my top priorities this legislative session. I continue to meet with workers and businesses to find out what can be done to help move the needle on finding more qual – ified employees and how we can help people advance in their careers.

That is why this session I joined with Sen. Roth and Rep. Penterman in introducing the Reemployment Assistance Act. This bill proposed various changes to Wisconsin’s unemployment insurance program by putting a greater focus on workforce training. It also would have provided individuals on unemployment insurance with a customized employment plan to help them with their job searches and to shorten the amount of time they would be unemployed.

But despite Gov. Ever’s veto of this common-sense legislation, I continued to find solutions. In my Budget Survey, an overwhelming percentage of people said we needed to provide additional job training to individuals and that we should strength- en work requirements in gov ernment programs. I voted against proposals that would have kept people away from work and instead invested in helping people find their next career. I also voted for a state budget which also included several proposals I championed that were signed into law, including: Providing an additional $1 million per year to expand Wisconsin’s nation-leading Youth Apprenticeship Program.

Increasing the amount of funding for vocational rehabilitation and the Project SEARCH program which connects students with disabilities with internship programs.

Expanding the Hire He roes program which helps veterans find employment in Wisconsin.

Provided $3 million for a public relations campaign to attract talent from other states and to keep talent here in the state.

Fully funding the highly successful Wisconsin Fast Forward program that provides matching funds for businesses to upskill their existing workforce and to provide needed training for new employees with an emphasis on hiring those who may have greater divculty entering the workforce.

Providing more funds for the Wisconsin Technical College system to help close the skills gap while also investing $5 million to help increase the pool of nursing instructors to expand the much-needed nursing pipeline.

I continue to look forward to working with my colleagues to find innovative and creative solutions that make sure people have the ability to engage in the labor market and that the state continues to support employment as a priority in its programs.

September 20, 2022