MADISON – School districts across Wisconsin are encouraged to apply for up to $50,000 in grant funding from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) to purchase technical education equipment for student training.

Under the Expanded Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) program, up to $1 million in grant funds will be available to Wisconsin school districts to train students to use advanced manufacturing tools and equipment. Award amounts will range from $5,000 to $50,000 and will be available to Wisconsin school districts to train high school students in technical fields to help address Wisconsin’s skilled worker shortage.

“DWD recognizes the importance of education and ensuring that our students get skills training in high-demand fields like advanced manufacturing,” DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said. “Investing in our students is investing in our future Wisconsin workforce.”

Last year, 31 school districts in 23 counties were awarded the Technical Education Equipment grants. In total, the schools received $1 million in grant funds from DWD to benefit more than 1,120 students. DWD hopes to help even more students with training and equipment funding that will flow directly into schools.

The grants will reimburse school districts for the purchase and installation costs of technical education equipment used in vocational training and technical education in advanced manufacturing fields, including costs for equipment operation software and instructional materials. The grant program helps students transition from high school into the workforce by supporting technical education and reduces higher education costs by providing dual enrollment credits, industry-endorsed certificates, and technical endorsements on high school diplomas.

In 2020, Webster High School in Burnett County used its grant funding to purchase a Computer-Numerically-Controlled (CNC) milling machine and robotic arm to help students learn how to fabricate custom parts, read blueprints, use inspection equipment, and design and program parts on a computer. You can find a video for the purchased equipment here.

Applications are due by 3 p.m. CST on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022.

For additional information, or to download an application, please consult the Grant Program Announcement and related grant program materials on the Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants website.

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