WISCONSIN RAPIDS. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin recently announced new legislation to boost workforce readiness by expanding apprenticeship programs and investing in public-private partnerships.
Senator Baldwin unveiled the PARTNERS (Pairing Apprenticeships with Regional Training Networks to meet Employer Requirements) Act during a visit to Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids.
“In Wisconsin, I’ve seen how public-private partnerships can best address the workforce readiness challenges we face,” said Senator Baldwin. “This new legislation will scale up our apprenticeship programs and provide more people with the skills they need to succeed. If we invest in public-private partnerships, we can boost workforce readiness and provide our businesses the skilled workers they need to grow our economy.”
Businesses—especially small and medium-sized businesses—often lack the infrastructure to establish apprenticeships or work-based learning programs on their own. Senator Baldwin’s legislation would address this challenge by establishing a program to provide states with grants that will help create or expand local public-private partnership apprenticeship initiatives.
With the PARTNERS Act, states would submit applications to the Secretary of Labor for local initiatives to start or expand apprenticeship programs. The state would then provide grants of up to $500,000 for two years to local public-private partnerships to bring industry and education partners together to start and run work-based training programs, as well as worker support services that help businesses develop apprenticeship initiatives.
After touring apprenticeship initiatives across Wisconsin, Senator Baldwin’s crafted the PARTNERS Act with input and insight from Wisconsin businesses, technical colleges and workforce development organizations. Earlier this week, Senator Baldwin toured job training programs in Milwaukee at WRTP/BIG STEP (Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership / Building Industry Group Skilled Trades Employment Program), who assisted in creating this legislation.