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Grant to Help Fund Training for Agribusiness Workers
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 09/10/2010

Governor Jim Doyle announced a $296,997 grant to fund training for agriculture and agribusiness workers throughout Wisconsin. The funds are part of the Wisconsin Industry Partnership initiative, a new approach to training that gives industry a leading role in worker training.

The grant is being awarded to the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin, the Department of Workforce Development's regional partner based in Madison. The money will support training activities on a statewide basis, with input from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and its Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council, whose 34 members include 12 representatives from industry employers across the state.

Through the grant, current employees and unemployed or underemployed workers will receive training in agriculture career pathways that focus both on and off the farm, from farm production to distribution-related financial, technical and manufacturing processes. Training will take the form of mentorship, programs and seminars, targeting some 200 farmers, farm workers and displaced manufacturing workers who are pursuing new careers in agriculture.

Jobs that will be supported through the grant project include engineering managers, marketing managers, and heavy equipment mechanics. Entry level wages for such positions can average over $17 per hour for environmental engineering technicians and can reach as high as $33 per hour for managers. With close to $340,000 in local matching resources, total funding for the 12-month training project will reach nearly $637,000.

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