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Wisconsin’s senior living and care operators are eligible to receive their share of the state’s $2 million grants from the Department of Workforce Development.

The Wisconsin Fast Forward grants are meant to help support 10 employers and serve up to 759 trainees across four high-demand sectors, including senior living.

“Wisconsin’s unprecedented economic recovery has been accompanied by a nationwide labor market quantity challenge driven by demographic trends that have been building for decades,” DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek stated in a press release. “In response, investments like Wisconsin Fast Forward grants are proven strategies to grow the state’s talent pipeline and connect unemployed and other workers with in-demand skills that are needed for family-supporting jobs.”

Wisconsin Fast Forward grants are expected to be a win for businesses and workers alike. The workforce development grants will reimburse businesses with costs associated with occupational training for either new hires or current employees. Participants who successfully complete the training program will gain opportunities for employment, higher-level employment or increased wages.

To receive a workforce development grant, ranging from $5,000 to $400,000, employers must commit to a 50% cash or in-kind employer match. 
Although all industries, from solar power to shipbuilding to senior living, are welcome to apply for Wisconsin Fast Forward grants, the state has proven itself generous already with the senior living sector. For example, Gov. Tony Evers (D) and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in May announced expansion of the WisCaregiver Careers program to address the certified nurse assistants shortage in the state’s nursing homes. The program is administered by the Wisconsin Health Care Association and LeadingAge Wisconsin. WHCA explained that the program allows employers to hire job seekers first and use an in-house training program to teach them.