‘Build on human capital:’ Walker unveils $20 million technology job training initiative

MILWAUKEE  — Wisconsin will spend $20 million on a job training program with colleges and universities designed to prepare people for electronics manufacturing jobs.

Gov. Scott Walker announced the initiative Wednesday at Milwaukee Area Technical college -- one day ahead of the release of the state's latest unemployment numbers.

Funding for the idea was part of legislation lawmakers approved last year to have Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group build an electronics factory in southeast Wisconsin.

"Now the challenge is looking for the right people to fill the workforce and the training needed to fill those positions," said Gov. Walker.

Walker calls it the Wisconsin Career Creator. But Walker says the initiative isn't just for Foxconn-related jobs, but for technology careers across the state.

"There is no reason everyone here in Milwaukee or Madison or Green Bay or anyone across the state should not be gainfully employed in a career path that supports themselves and their family," said Walker.

Part of the plan will allow high-school students to take college courses in technology before they graduate. There will also be scholarships for students who want to improve their skill set, as well was training for high-demand fields.

It also includes a scholarship program of Wisconsin employers.  Working adults can go back to school, on the state's dime, in order to be promoted by their current employer.

"This bill is an opportunity to build on human capital. To serve the workforce needs of employers and the future of the state," said Ray Cross, UW System President.

Funding will come from the next biennium budget.

"I know we are going to put this money to good use and it's going to start here in Milwaukee," said Dr. Morna Foy, President of the WI Technical College System.

The Wisconsin Career Creator also includes things like middle school apprenticeships and multi-county transportation programs.