2-2-2015 – Stevens Point, WI – North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (NCWWDB) Executive Director Rene Daniels today announced the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s (DWD) intent to award NCWWDB with an $189,642 Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) workforce training grant. NCWWDB applied for the grant on behalf of three local companies (Skyward Inc., Sentry Insurance, and Delta Dental of Wisconsin, Inc.) and in collaboration with UW-Stevens Point and Mid-State Technical College.
“We are very excited to receive a training grant that will help develop critical IT-related skills in our regional labor pool,” Daniels announced. “This project is the result of a truly unique partnership among area employers, higher education, and the workforce board.”
Employment in information technology-related occupations in Central Wisconsin is projected to grow by over 12% by 2018. This training initiative will not only upskill an in-demand workforce, but help expand the capacity of training providers and help build an industry alliance focused on workforce strategies to address the workforce gap in this industry. NCWWDB, Mid-State Technical College, and UW-Stevens Point will work collaboratively with participating employers to recruit training candidates. Highly customized information technology training will be delivered to 60 current workers and 17 unemployed and underemployed individuals in Central Wisconsin.
“Sentry Insurance is consistently looking to hire individuals with skills in the areas of data management and analytics,” said Jim Frank, vice-president for Information Technology, at Sentry Insurance. “In recent years, the demand for these skills has outpaced the supply provided by area universities. Through the Fast Forward program, we are looking to provide technical training in the area of data management to meet this demand. We hope to retool and retrain individuals with aptitude, but not necessarily the current technical skills. The success of the program allows Sentry to continue its pace of innovation in data management and analytics.”
Wisconsin Fast Forward includes $15 million in grants for employer-led worker training programs. The intent is to provide essential assistance that cannot be met through an existing program. WFF grants are awarded to maximize the impact of funds in catalyzing local collaboration between employers and workforce and economic development organizations. They also encourage the development of sustained pipelines that directly align with employer’s needs and are proven resources fueling Wisconsin’s economy.