Wisconsin Fast Forward: How Skills Training is Working and Extending the Opportunity to Low-wage Workers

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June 09, 2015
By: Samira Salem, Laura Dresser, and Michele Mackey
In 2013, Wisconsin launched Fast Forward, a $15 million state investment in demand driven worker training. By mid-December 2014, the Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) worker training program planned to distribute approximately $10.4 million in worker training grants and was preparing to announce additional grants for the remaining nearly $3.6 million. Fast Forward is an unprecedented investment in Wisconsin and skills. It is an exciting step forward to build the skills that both workers and employers need in this state. Direct employer engagement in all stages of the WFF process helps ensure the relevance of the skills training delivered.

With this brief, we seek to offer some assessment of WFF’s experience to date, to identify ways that it meets its critical goals, and to propose relevant areas for refinement and other improvement of practice and policy. We will pay special attention to the way this program fits into the broader policy and program context for skills in the state. The sustainability and system impact of these investments will be amplified by steps that ensure WFF is integrated into the state’s skills ecosystem, rather than a stand-alone program outside of it.