NEW NORTH, July 14, 2021 – New North, Inc., the regional economic development corporation serving the 18 counties of Northeast Wisconsin, today hosted a press conference and roundtable discussion at TitletownTech in Green Bay with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and two of his cabinet-level secretaries.
Gov. Evers announced a groundbreaking $130 million investment in workforce solutions to help address the state’s post-pandemic workforce needs. He was joined in the announcement by Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek.
Included in the state’s investment is a $100 million Workforce Innovation grant program, which is designed to encourage regions and communities to develop leading-edge, long-term solutions to workforce challenges emerging from COVID-19.
“We thank Governor Evers and Secretaries Hughes and Pechacek for coming to the New North region to make this important announcement,” says Barb LaMue, president and CEO of New North, Inc. “We value our relationship with state leaders and appreciate their willingness to meaningfully address this key economic issue. In conjunction with our local partners, New North will lead the development of a regional strategic proposal that would deploy innovative, measurable and sustainable talent development initiatives across our 18-county region.”
In making the announcement, Secretary Hughes explained that the new grants will give communities and industries the flexibility to respond to their specific workforce challenges and find solutions. Investment of program funds could range from childcare or transit issues, to apprenticeship initiatives, to strategies geared towards talent attraction and retention.
A roundtable discussion with Evers, Hughes, Pechacek and LaMue, along with more than a dozen business, education and community leaders from across the New North region, followed. Workforce-related challenges, and potential solutions, were highlighted.
The grants will be funded with federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars, which are available to support investments to address the ongoing negative economic impacts of COVID-19.