Racine County groups getting $700,000 for worker training

Racine County groups are getting over $700,000 to train workers for Foxconn and other employers in southeastern Wisconsin.

The funds are coming from the state’s Fast Forward grant program, which funds worker training initiatives all over the state.

Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce is getting $400,000 to train 100 unemployed and underemployed individuals for a variety of positions, including truck drivers, logistics technicians, construction builders and more.

The county itself is getting over $300,000 to train 100 more workers for positions such as industrial maintenance technicians, customer service specialists and hospitality specialists. According to a release from the county, these jobs will be needed by local businesses, “that may be affected by Foxconn job growth.”

In partnership with Racine Community Foundation and United Way of Racine County, Racine County is committing $90,000 of its share to fund an organization called Community Connectors.

Community Connectors is targeting about 70 percent of the following groups: out-of-school youth, women, veterans, minorities, ex-offenders and long-term public assistance recipients.

Groups receiving funding for training include Gateway Technical College, WRTP-Big Step and First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship, a program of the YMCA.

WRTP-Big Step is committing $30,000 toward marketing and other outreach, while nonprofit advocacy group UMOS is investing up to $100,000 for “transitional job training” programs and wage subsidies for graduates of those programs.

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave says the funds are “a tremendous boost for our local businesses and residents, and will help ensure that everyone benefits in this historic new era for our community.”

According to the release, at least 22 employers in Racine County are committed to “hiring more than double the number of residents” and training them through the Fast Forward grant.

The grant announcement follows the launch of Racine Works, a Fast Forward grant-funded training program for construction workers. Training funded by the new grant will begin early next year.

Since the state began giving out Fast Forward grants, $25 million in grants have supported over 200 projects to train workers.