Walker signs bill expanding workforce training - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Walker signs bill expanding workforce training

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ONALASKA, Wis. (WXOW) - Grants that help technical colleges train employees in the workforce are expanding, thanks to a bill signed into law Friday by Governor Walker. He signed that bill at Crescent Printing Company in Onalaska.

The bill expands existing grants that help technical colleges train employees at local businesses. They're called Workforce Advancement Training Grants. They help train employees like Tammy Mahlke, who has worked in the printing business for 35 years. She's learned mostly on the job and she knows the importance of training, whether in the classroom or the workplace.

"Technology changes and we have to keep up with that, our customers expect us to know what we're doing so it's really important to stay current," said Mahlke.

The bill expands the grant to businesses with up to 250 employees, the previous limit was 100. Governor Scott Walker said they "provide not only more training but help them [businesses] expand their markets, trade opportunities, just another tool to help small businesses like Crescent Printing grow in the state of Wisconsin."

Locally the grants are available through partnerships with Western Technical College. They are offered on site, or on campus. The grant not only expands workforce training, it extends a hand across party lines.

Democratic 94th Assembly District Representative Steve Doyle co-authored the bill and has worked the last two years to get it signed. The bill passed the legislature in April with only four votes against.

"We always talk about bipartisanship, but unfortunately there's a shortage of reality when it comes to bipartisanship, but this bill shows that it is possible in Madison even in these times we can come together to figure out a way to create jobs," said Doyle.

The grant program is part of Governor Walker's $35 million Fast Forward Initiative, providing funds to train workers in manufacturing, construction, and customer service.

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