Gov. Evers, DWD Announce $20 Million in Workforce Advancement Initiative Grants

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers this week, together with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), announced $20 million in grant awards to 11 regions in Wisconsin to help more than 2,300 Wisconsinites as part of the much-anticipated Worker Advancement Initiative. The initiative, announced earlier this year and funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), will serve Wisconsinites whose previous employment has not come back since the pandemic, as well as those who were not attached to or were not successful in the labor market prior to the pandemic, by offering subsidized employment and skills training opportunities with local employers.

“We’re working hard to make sure Wisconsin rebounds and recovers from the pandemic, but we know part of that work is ensuring workers, families, and communities are bouncing back with us,” said Gov. Evers. “Whether through job training or providing quality childcare, affordable housing, or accessible transportation, our workforce innovation funds will support folks working to overcome challenges specific to their community and their family and help get workers back in the workforce so we can ensure our state’s economic recovery.”

DWD will administer the program through the local workforce development boards in partnership with community-based organizations to provide subsidized employment and skills training opportunities to participants, including a focus on those who will be co-enrolled in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs.

Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said. “This $20 million investment will allow us to effectuate change at a local level that will help people most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Clients served will benefit from a continuum of services, including: paid work experience opportunities to develop and/or enhance job skills (wage subsidies); hard and soft-skill training so participants can acquire occupational skills connected to in-demand jobs along with critical work-based skills needed to succeed; on-the-job training opportunities that will lead to economic self-sufficiency; and supportive services to address related barriers to employment, which may include assistance for childcare, housing, transportation, and worker stipends.

Student Loan Debt Relief Scammers Target Worried Borrowers

MADISON, Wis. – The final extension of the federal student loan payment pause runs until Jan. 31, 2022. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) encourage student loan borrowers to be cautious of offers from questionable student loan debt relief companies, to be aware of fraudsters taking advantage of this transition period, and to create a repayment plan now before their student loan payments are due.

“Student loan debt relief scammers target borrowers with false offers of loan forgiveness or savings from consolidation,” said DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski. “There are many resources consumers can access without paying a fee. I encourage borrowers to utilize the resources at DFI for information about repayment services and report any fraud to our team at DATCP.”

“With student loan payments resuming in February 2022, it is more important than ever for borrowers to explore their student loan repayment options and make a plan for repayment today,” said DFI Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld. “Borrowers should take time now while payments are still paused to look into repayment options such as income-driven repayment plans, which lower monthly payments, and check their eligibility for student loan forgiveness. Not waiting until the last minute to make a plan is important and will help ensure a smooth return to repayment.”

Student loan borrowers should be wary of phone calls, emails, letters, and texts claiming relief from federal student loans or warning that student loan forgiveness programs are immediately expiring. These aggressive solicitations are used to scam borrowers with fees for services.