March 14. 2013 7:00AM - Last modified: March 14. 2013 7:07AM

OSHKOSH – Walker signs workforce bill

Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday signed a workforce development bill that he said is more important to the state’s economy, in the long-term, than the mining bill he signed earlier this week.

Walker signed the bill, known as “Wisconsin Fast Forward,” at Jay Manufacturing in Oshkosh.

The legislation, which aims to address skills deficiencies in the state’s workforce and better link job seekers and employers, was approved unanimously in the state Senate and passed with a 94-4 vote in the Assembly.

“It’s not just about one project — and that (mining bill) was a big, important project … but long-term, making sure employers like Jay Manufacturing have the skilled employees they need to grow, to expand and do more here in the state of Wisconsin, put more people to work, is one of the most significant things we’ve done yet this year, and will do going forward, to make sure we grow Wisconsin’s economy.”

The new law will make available $15 million in state-funded Department of Workforce Development grants over the biennium to provide training to new and current workers. It also creates a new Office of Skills Development at the DWD to administer those grants, and a new Labor Market Information System to track job vacancies and link unemployed workers to openings they are qualified to fill or to training to help them become qualified.

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