NEW LONDON—Gov. Tony Evers was in New London June 29 to announce up to $9.7 million in grants through the Workforce Innovation Grant Program will be awarded to the Waupaca County Economic Development Association and Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin.

The grants will fund programs that support access to local options for employees and employers for things like finding transportation for work and affordable childcare, as well as programs that use a trauma-informed approach to workforce education and services to engage individuals from unserved and underserved populations in the local workforce.

“These programs receiving funds today support these important goals as they work to meaningfully overcome barriers that otherwise keep people from joining our workforce and securing quality, family-supporting jobs,” Gov. Evers said.

Serving Waupaca and Outagamie counties, the Waupaca County Economic Development Association will receive $3.2 million of the grant funds and plans to use it to support a workforce transportation program that will provide around-the-clock services for employees and employers to arrange transportation for work. This program will coordinate local stakeholders to increase transportation options—including a new Micro-Transit Service consisting of five vehicles, one of which will be an accessible minivan, that will be available 24/7 or as defined by employer schedules, volunteer drivers, and local taxi companies—to provide up to 26,000 rides per year. 

Serving Calumet, Outagamie, Waupaca, Waushara, and Winnebago counties, Goodwill Industries of North Central Wisconsin will receive $6.5 million and plans to use the funds to support a collaborative program with Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) and Rawhide Youth Services to prepare over 200 trainers at FVTC to use a trauma-informed approach to workforce education and services. 

“Across our region, we are talking with employers who need a skilled workforce to help make their businesses successful and their communities strong,” said Dr. Chris Matheny, president of Fox Valley Technical College. “These programs will help identify and connect high-potential individuals with employers through job skills training and holistic support.”

The Workforce Innovation Grant Program is a collaboration between the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Department of Workforce Development.