Governor Evers Directs $130 Million in Federal Funding Toward Workforce Development

Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday announced that $130 million in federal coronavirus relief funds will be used to help address the state’s worker shortage problem and assist unemployed people searching for a job.

The bulk of the money, $100 million, will go toward a workforce innovation program for the development of solutions to workforce challenges the state faced after the COVID-19 pandemic, Evers said.

Another $20 million will go to a worker advancement initiative that will offer about 2,000 unemployed people subsidized employment and skills training opportunities with local employers. And $10 million would go to a program that provides workforce career coaches to help people find jobs.

“These programs will allow us to invest in regional solutions, help businesses find workers, and provide support to our friends and neighbors who are getting back on their feet,” Evers said in a statement.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate in May was 3.9%, down from the high of 14.1% in April 2020 as the pandemic forced closures of businesses across the state. In March 2020 the state unemployment rate was 3.1%.

Republicans have criticized Evers for not doing more to address worker shortages, including his vetoing of a bill that would have ended a federal $300 unemployment supplementary payment.