TUE AM News: State apprenticeship navigators help connect people to jobs; CROWE report says only 3 out of 10 people got UI checks

— The Department of Workforce Development has created five new positions called apprenticeship navigators to help Wisconsinites find open opportunities. 

Apprenticeship is a training model that combines on-the-job learning with job-related classroom instruction. Apprentices are employed and earn wages from their first day on the job. Upon completion of their programs, apprentices earn an average of $80,000, according to DWD.

Apprenticeship opportunities are available in the traditional construction, manufacturing, utility and service sectors, as well as emerging areas like health care, information technology, finance, transportation, biotech and agriculture.

The typical construction apprenticeship takes up to six years, and graduates develop skills for a lifelong, family-sustaining career that cannot be outsourced, said John Schulze, the director of legal and government relations for Associated Builders and Contractors. 

“Schools and employers are working hard to connect young people to jobs in the construction trades, and the ‘stick rate’ is high, in that once someone is exposed to the construction trades and likes it, they usually complete,” Schulze said. “But the largest barrier is getting students in the door.”

He said while there is no silver bullet to bridge the construction skills gap, Wisconsin has made important policy changes to encourage more people to get into the skilled construction trades.

“These new apprenticeship navigators are another important small step,” he said.

Read the full story at WisBusiness.com: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/state-apprenticeship-navigators-help-connect-people-to-jobs/ 

— Only three in 10 Wisconsin workers who applied for unemployment insurance over the past year have been paid, according to the latest report from the conservative think tank CROWE.

In recent months that’s fallen to one in 10. The Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy also reported many of the unemployed workers who were paid endured long delays with 30 percent waiting 10 weeks or more for a UI check. These are among the lowest payment rates and longest delays in the country, the report said.

“The COVID pandemic led to mass unemployment and an expansion of benefits to aid unemployed workers, but problems in administering benefits severely limited their effectiveness,” explained CROWE Director and UW-Madison Prof. Noah Williams. “Wisconsin in particular was unable to handle the volume of claims, leading to a decline in payment rates, a vast increase in delayed payments and a deterioration in ensuring accurate payments were made.” 

Gov. Tony Evers in February signed a special session bill to overhaul the UI computer system. DWD is using a $2.4 million federal grant to begin the upgrade and signed a $1.2 million contract with 18F to start the modernization process. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, called it a “step in the right direction.”

CROWE argues the state should consider more drastic measures, such as permanently outsourcing unemployment services management to a private provider.

See the CROWE report: https://crowe.wisc.edu/current-economic-analysis/#uisystems 

See another WisBusiness.com story with a call for other solutions: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/overhauling-ui-system-wont-fix-current-delay-labor-attorney-argues/ 

— Former Department of Revenue Secretary Roger Ervin is joining the communications firm Putnam Partners as a partner.

Putnam is known for its ads with a portfolio that includes the Obama 2008 and 2012 campaigns and the Biden campaign’s Unite the Country PAC. Most recently, Ervin was a senior advisor to the Biden campaign. 

“I am honored to join the very talented team at Putnam Partners,” said Ervin, who was DOR Secretary under former Gov. Jim Doyle. “They are undoubtedly the best in the business. I look forward to leveraging my skills and experience to ensure that our clients continue to succeed and that we grow the business in new and very interesting directions.” 

— Wet wipe manufacturer Rockline Industries Inc. is expanding a factory in Sheboygan — a $19.7 million project expected to create 54 jobs over the next three years.

WEDC is supporting Rockline’s expansion with up to $380,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years. The actual amount of tax credits Rockline will receive is contingent upon the number of jobs created and the amount of capital investment during that period.

“Rockline has a long history of supporting Sheboygan County and the State of Wisconsin,” said Craig Roush, executive vice president. “The WEDC’s assistance is welcomed and will help us continue to grow our presence here now and for years to come.”

Rockline plans to double its household disinfecting wipes manufacturing capacity. Two new production lines are planned at a cost of $19.7 million.

In addition to the 54 jobs expected to be created by Rockline, an economic modeling study estimates the project could indirectly generate 25 additional jobs in the region, according to WEDC. Those 75 new jobs are expected to generate $127,467 in state income tax revenue annually.

— Milwaukee-based education tech company Fiveable has acquired Hours, a virtual studying platform. 

This past week, more than 400,000 Fiveable students studied together for upcoming exams through live programming. This acquisition now allows students to create single and multiplayer study rooms to increase motivation and accountability as they connect with peers working toward the same goals. 

Sixteen-year-old Calix Huang from the Bay Area founded Hours in October, seeking to help students increase productivity by connecting them through virtual study rooms while at home during the pandemic. As part of Fiveable’s acquisition, Huang will join their team as a lead product manager to accelerate the growth of Hours. 

Hours has been used by more than 17,000 students across 120 countries. Fiveable founder and CEO Amanda DoAmaral says virtual group studying is one of the many trends that took off during the pandemic and is here to stay.

“Edtech tools of the last two decades have focused heavily on one-on-one tutoring and single-player content, but students are finding one another and organically building community spaces outside of these traditional environments,” DoAmaral explained. “Having Calix and his team lead product strategy for Hours allows us to continue creating decentralized spaces where students can work directly with one another — one small step towards educational equity.”

— More than 37 percent of Wisconsin residents are fully protected against COVID-19; more than 44 percent have at least started the vaccine series.

As of yesterday, more than 2.1 million Wisconsinites completed their vaccine series. Nearly 2.6 million have gotten at least one dose of either the single-dose Johnson & Johnson or the two-dose series of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Door County is the only Wisconsin county to surpass 50 percent of its population fully vaccinated. Dane and Door counties are the only counties to surpass 60 percent of their population having at least one dose.

Wisconsin has put more than 4.7 million COVID-19 shots in people’s arms. 

Nearly 77 percent of Wisconsin’s 65 and older population are fully protected against COVID-19; 81.5 percent have started the series.

<i>For more of the most relevant news on the coronavirus outbreak, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin and links to top stories, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com.

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— Minocqua Brewing Company is hosting a vaccination party complete with live music on May 29 to combat COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. 

The northern Wisconsin brewery will give out one free can of beer to anyone that can show they had at least one COVID-19 shot in May. 

“Apart from normalizing the need to require vaccination in order to party in public, another BIG GOAL of this party is to encourage those that are worried about getting the vaccine because of all the misinformation floating around out there to get vaccinated,” the brewery wrote. 

Get updates on the event: https://www.facebook.com/MBCBrews   

— Three student teams walked away with $2,250 in tuition credit at the virtual Warhawk Business Plan Competition at UW-Whitewater.

The UW-Whitewater Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization hosted the “Shark Tank”-style event. Six finalists pitched their business plan ideas to the judges at Wednesday’s event. All participating students completed the two-stage competition, which begins with a business plan and 2-minute video, and culminates with the pitch at the live event.

Bailey Wichert, an entrepreneurship major from Waukesha, won first place and $1,000 in tuition credit with his pitch for Secure Ski — a product he designed to prevent skis from being stolen.

The team of Arianna Plaster and Braden Bunnow, both entrepreneurship majors, earned second place for general construction company Prodigy Contracting. Dan Gauerke, an entrepreneurship major, took third place with exotic car parts company Lead Pedal Parts.

“We had an outstanding group of finalists this year, and in fact, we have never had such a breadth of competitors,” said Dave Gee, entrepreneurship program coordinator, UW-Whitewater Launch Pad co director, and CEO chapter advisor.

— A virtual listening session on the future of Wisconsin’s forest products industry is tonight from 6 to 8 p.m.

Gov. Tony Evers, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, DNR Secretary Preston Cole, WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes and local leaders are hosting the session. 

Feedback will allow the state to set new goals for diversifying Wisconsin’s more than $24 billion forest products industry and for sustainably managing the state’s more than 17 million acres of forests. 

Creating that plan will allow Wisconsin to seek federal money and assistance for an industry that provides more than 63,000 jobs in the state.

Register: https://wedc.org/rural-prosperity/forest-products-industry-listening-sessions

— Wisconsin potato growers have until June 15 to elect three members to the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board. 

The board is composed of nine producers in three districts across the state, with one at-large member elected every third year. The board secures and distributes funding for research, education and promotion of Wisconsin-grown potatoes.

The nominees on the ballot are Eric Schroeder of Antigo for District 1, James Okray of Stevens Point for District 2 and John Bobeck of Markesan for District 3. Elected producers will serve three-year terms beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2024.

DATCP will mail ballots to eligible potato growers next week. Growers that haven’t gotten a ballot by May 22 can request one through DATCP. Ballots must be emailed or postmarked by June 15.

— RSVP for the May 20 WisBusiness.com virtual event: “Summer Tourism Outlook: How will Wisconsin take advantage of a post-pandemic visitor surge?”

Join WisBusiness.com May 20 for a virtual lunch hour event featuring three tourism leaders — Tourism Secretary Anne Sayers, Wisconsin Hotel and Lodging Association President and CEO Bill Elliott and Association of Wisconsin Tourism Attractions President Tom Diehl. The trio will discuss the state of the tourism industry in Wisconsin and how the political, health and economic climates may influence what Wisconsin’s robust tourism industry will look like this summer.

The program is set to run via webinar from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 20.

The event will begin with a moderated panel discussion and then shift to questions from the audience.

We will send you a link to access the webinar on the morning of the event.

Register here: https://forms.gle/EZxExdEx9JK1Bv3cA

This event is sponsored by Madison Gas and Electric Company, University Research Park, Wisconsin Technology Council and The Phelps Hamus Group.


# Wisconsin Attorney General urges Facebook to abandon plans of Instagram for children https://wkow.com/2021/05/10/wisconsin-attorney-general-urges-facebook-to-abandon-plans-of-instagram-for-children/ 

# Proposed Changes To Wisconsin Policing Laws Would Limit, Not Ban, Chokeholds 


# Weekly Average Of New Coronavirus Cases Reaches Lowest Point Since Early April 




– Quad Ranked Among Ad Age’s Top 25 Agency Companies https://www.maryvilleforum.com/business/quad-ranked-among-ad-age-s-top-25-agency-companies/article_c2f32749-845c-5484-bed4-0015fcfe4d34.html


– Wisconsin beef, it’s what’s for dinner https://www.leadertelegram.com/country-today/country-life/country-life-news/wisconsin-beef-its-whats-for-dinner/article_8e102143-8e43-5f46-87fc-e6de69db6943.html


– WNB Financial plans full-service Holmen office and new building https://lacrossetribune.com/business/wnb-financial-plans-full-service-holmen-office-and-new-building/article_ec596f1c-cc34-5717-a762-da193ecce60f.html


– Fire destroys new sawmill in northwestern Wisconsin https://dailyreporter.com/2021/05/10/fire-destroys-new-sawmill-in-northwestern-wisconsin/


– Wonewoc-Union Center School District awarded $25K grant https://www.wiscnews.com/announcements/community/wonewoc-union-center-school-district-awarded-25k-grant/article_a92d4e72-e0e1-55c6-aa75-5468914bf33a.html


– How can farmers help protect Wisconsin waters? Some in Fond du Lac, Outagamie counties are experimenting https://www.fdlreporter.com/story/news/2021/05/10/fond-du-lac-outagamie-county-farmers-pioneer-conservation-practices/7191754002/


– Carroll University develops new education program to address the pandemic-accelerated health care crisis http://www.milwaukeeindependent.com/articles/carroll-university-develops-new-education-program-address-pandemic-accelerated-health-care-crisis/


– Now Hiring: Ahern looks to fill 30 jobs across Wisconsin, upper Midwest https://spectrumnews1.com/wi/madison/news/2021/04/23/now-hiring-ahern

– Understanding The Latest Jobs Numbers https://www.wpr.org/understanding-latest-jobs-numbers


– Milwaukee’s DA Takes a Stance Against Prohibition, Releases 10 Years of Marijuana Data https://shepherdexpress.com/hemp/cannabis/milwaukee%E2%80%99s-da-takes-a-stance-against-prohibition-releases-1/


– Social Media Hate Speech, Harassment ‘Significant Problem’ For LGBTQ Users: Report https://www.wpr.org/social-media-hate-speech-harassment-significant-problem-lgbtq-users-report


– Wisconsin’s Native Americans to share priorities during State of the Tribes Address https://wausaupilotandreview.com/2021/05/10/wisconsins-native-americans-to-share-priorities-during-state-of-the-tribes-address/

– A rich grocer, a low-budget underdog and a wild election swing. Lessons from Wisconsin’s past frame ’22 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/analysis/2021/05/10/22-wisconsin-democratic-primary-u-s-senate-could-get-wild/4988141001/


– Shipyard: 225-unit apartment project would kick-start development of public trail, park, amenities https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/money/2021/05/10/green-bay-shipyard-225-unit-apartment-complex-seen-catalyst-fox-river-redevelopment/4996463001/

– The former Bertrand’s Sports Shop has a new owner. Here’s his plan for the building on Broadway https://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/money/2021/05/10/bertrands-sports-shop-new-owner-remodeling-building-broadway-looking-tenants/7399002002/


– More pizza for the suburbs, and smoothie shop in mix for Milwaukee https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2021/05/10/more-pizza-for-the-suburbs-smoothie-shop-in-mix.html


– That’s so Fetch: Wes Schroll, ‘unicorn’ CEO, to speak at Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference https://madison.com/ct/news/local/neighborhoods/thats-so-fetch-wes-schroll-unicorn-ceo-to-speak-at-wisconsin-entrepreneurs-conference/article_33484b14-d85a-54b2-a957-3119beae6972.html


– Going outside to play: Wildman resorts get people into the outdoors https://www.ironmountaindailynews.com/news/local-news/2021/05/going-outside-to-play-wildman-resorts-get-people-into-the-outdoors/

– The Beloit Snappers are offering one-night-only stadium naming rights for home games; here’s what people have come up with https://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/2021/05/10/meet-fans-who-have-one-night-naming-rights-beloit-snappers-game/4989271001/


– Belleville district looks to spark middle-schoolers’ interest in technology with Fab Labs grant https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/local_schools/belleville-district-looks-to-spark-middle-schoolers-interest-in-technology-with-fab-labs-grant/article_923f666c-1240-51a9-934f-cad9987dcdd4.html


– Southwest Airlines adding nonstop service between Milwaukee and Miami; new record set for post-pandemic travel https://www.jsonline.com/story/money/business/2021/05/10/southwest-airlines-adds-nonstop-service-between-milwaukee-and-miami/5022114001/


<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

– Renaissance Theaterworks: Returns to live, in-person theater at their new artistic home, closing its 2020-21 season with “The Best of Br!nk Br!efs”. A virtual option will also be available.

– Dept. of Justice: AG Kaul leads 19 AGs in urging EPA to require public water systems to monitor for additional PFAS

– INVIVO Wellness: To host 15th Anniversary Wellness Day Event on Saturday, May 15, 2021

– UW-Milwaukee: Honors Kizzmekia Corbett for vaccine innovation