Wisconsin governor offers budget plans for food stamps, higher educationGovernor Walker is touring the state promoting a $100 million workforce development package he plans to include in his biennial budget.
By: By Rich Kremer, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Governor Walker is touring the state promoting a $100 million workforce development package he plans to include in his biennial budget.
UW-System would get about $22 million in workforce development grants and the UW Flexible Option degree program. The state’s technical college system would also get a small boost, with an extra $5 million for worker training program expansions in high demand areas. Walker’s last budget cut more than $30 million in tech college funding, but he says reforms and this new money make it a net gain. “The savings they were able to generate far exceed any of the budget adjustments made two years ago. So this is not in any way about backfilling money, this is about adding on top of the money they were able to obtain from the savings.”
The workforce plan includes money to create a new labor market information system, which Walker says will provide up to date unemployment data and track regional trends in hiring. He says it will not replace quarterly federal jobs numbers.
Walker is also reforming how the state issues food stamps. He says able-bodied adults without dependent children will be required to work or meet job training requirements in order to qualify.
“So, one of the best things we can do for them is not to say ‘go get a job or you don’t get food stamps,’ but rather say, ‘We’re going to give you the job skills training so that when jobs are opening up you don’t have to run off and then figure out a way to get that training.’”
The money for Walker’s workforce development initiatives will come from state general purpose revenue with some matching federal funds.