The measure, called the Wisconsin Jobs Initiative, was presented at the State Capitol in a press conference by Mason and State Reps. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, and Kim Hixson, D-Whitewater.
“Everywhere I turn in my district, people ask what can be done to get them back to work," Mason said. "What I am proposing today will train and educate at least 40,000 Wisconsin residents statewide and give employers the skilled workers they need.
“I am proud to stand with Wisconsin’s struggling workers and businesses during these challenging economic times. The Wisconsin Jobs Initiative will enable us to invest in our most valuable resource: our workers. This proposal allows us to stand by the workers who built the Wisconsin economy and help them to transition into 21st century jobs.”
He noted that Congress is poised to pass the American Graduation Initiative which would create matching grants to states that invest in their technical college systems. “With the matching funds from Congress, there is no better time to invest in our workers.”
A press release said the Wisconsin Jobs Initiative would:
1) Provide job skills training and education to thousands of workers through a significant investment in Wisconsin’s technical college system. This investment will also put Wisconsin first-in-line to apply for federal matching dollars made available by President Obama’s American Graduation Initiative. It is estimated that Wisconsin would be eligible to receive at least $135 million in federal matching dollars.Mason will circulate the bill for co-sponsorship and expects a hearing on it this fall.
2) Grant financial aid to more than 20,000 waitlisted low-income Wisconsin students statewide so they can get the training and education they deserve from Wisconsin’s UW and technical college campuses, or private and independent colleges and universities;
3) Direct the state Department of Commerce to award competitive grants to businesses to modernize their facilities and equipment, to ensure the retention and creation of 21st Century jobs; and
4) Enhance Wisconsin’s Angel Investment Tax Credit program to support qualified new businesses, to continue to grow Wisconsin’s economy.