Governor’s plan includes nearly $100M to boost work force

Bills to be introduced prior to budget announcement

Gov. Scott Walker said he wants to invest nearly $100 million to develop the state’s work force and teach workers skills to find jobs.

The plan, which the governor’s office sent early Sunday ahead of Walker’s budget announcement, proposes money for traditional education programs — the UW System, state technical colleges and K-12 education — and workforce training. The investment would build a faster system to track jobs data and tie funding for technical schools and universities to filling high-demand jobs.

It also would require food stamp recipients who are able and don’t have dependent children to enroll in worker training programs.

The sweeping proposals are part of the Republican’s 2013-2015 budget to be announced Feb. 20. Some proposals are being introduced as legislation Monday.

There could be bipartisan support for many ideas. But Democrats who blame part of the work force skills gap on Walker’s higher education cuts likely won’t be placated.

Walker’s plan will dedicate $96 million of state taxpayer resources — $132 million total — to developing the state’s workforce.

At a Prairie du Chien hospital on Monday, Walker rolled out proposals that he will introduce in his budget and separate legislation.

They include measures to help train more doctors through the UW Medical School and the Medical College of Wisconsin, specifically in the Academy of Rural Medicine to improve access to health care in rural areas.

“We understand health care adds that kind of value. If you have good health care, businesses will come, people will come and they will stay. If you don’t have that, people and businesses will make alternative decisions about going somewhere else,” Walker said.