Assembly passes jobs bill authored by Doyle, Nerison - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Assembly passes jobs bill authored by Doyle, Nerison

Posted: Updated: June 15, 2013 06:47 PM

MADISON, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- The Assembly has passed a bill co-authored by Onalaska Democrat Steve Doyle and Westby Republican Lee Nerison that expands the number of Wisconsin businesses eligible to receive grants from the state technical college system. 

Doyle said the grants vary by business but are typically in the area of "a few thousand dollars," and are meant to provide workforce training -- to help technical schools sync up their course requirements with the needs of businesses looking for workers. 

Under current law, only businesses employing 100 workers or fewer are able to apply for grants. 

The Doyle/Nerison proposal, Assembly Bill 226, expands the cutoff to 250 workers. 

The bill also allows the grants to be used in training management workers, not just laborers, which is the procedure under current law. 

The goal would be to allow a business's owner or manager to expand either in the array of products produced or the targeted market. 

"A lot of businesses are living day to day," Doyle said. "They're just focused on keeping the doors open and making payroll. They don't have the chance to look at expanding their business." 

"This bill will allow them to get a consultant to come in and say, 'improve this, this and this and you can expand your business,'" Doyle said. 

“This is a perfect example of how government can be, and needs to be, more responsive to the changing needs of Wisconsin’s businesses,” Nerison said. “Investing in our skilled workforce will help keep Wisconsin competitive in a global economy.”

Because the grants have already been budgeted for, the bill does not cost the state any additional money. 

The bill, which Doyle called "truly bipartisan," passed on a voice vote Wednesday and now heads to the State Senate. 

Doyle said the bill is just the third jobs-related bill to be brought to the floor by the assembly's rules committee. 

"I'm hoping that the fact that this is a jobs bill, and the fact that it's from a democrat, will open the flood gates, if you will," Doyle said, "and we'll start talking about a lot more jobs bills going forward." 

Reps. Jill Billings (D-La Crosse) and Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) have also signed on to the bill. 

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