WED AM News: Workforce resources going to Milwaukee County, northeastern region; COVID-19 hospitalizations on the rise

— State officials have selected two regions in southeastern and northeastern Wisconsin to receive Worker Connection Program resources. 

Gov. Tony Evers announced last month that $10 million would go toward the program, which includes hiring “workforce career coaches” to help state residents find jobs in Wisconsin. The funding was rolled out as part of a $130 million investment in workforce development efforts. 

The Department of Workforce Development announced yesterday that 40 career coaches will be hired in the two selected regions, which include Milwaukee County and a 10-county area in the northeast corner of the state. 

“Under the worker connection program, career coaches will be based out in the community so that people can meet them through the local educational and nonprofit organizations that they already know and trust,” said DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek. 

The local workforce development organizations — Employ Milwaukee and the Bay Area Workforce Development Board — will collaborate with DWD and local employers to implement the program, including providing training programs specific to the region’s workforce needs. 

Career coaches will help connect job seekers with training programs, as well as assisting with job applications or grant requests. 

See a map showing the selected regions: 

See more on the program: 

— The number of people hospitalized in Wisconsin for COVID-19 continues to jump, rising to 792 patients as of Monday. 

That’s an increase of 132 people over the past seven days and 10 times more than in early July. It’s the highest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since Jan. 22 of this year, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association dashboard. 

Meanwhile, 243 people are in intensive care units with COVID-19, for an increase of 39 patients over the week. 

As of Aug. 17 — the latest date for which hospital capacity figures are available from the Department of Health Services — 28.1 percent of hospitals in the state were at overall peak capacity, and 47 percent of hospitals had ICUs at peak capacity. 

The DHS site shows rising hospitalizations due to the virus in every region in the state. Although about 94 percent of hospitals have beds available, 87.8 percent of hospital beds and 91.8 percent of ICU beds were in use as of Aug. 17. Nearly 20 percent of Wisconsin’s ventilators were being used at that time. 

The seven-day average for new cases increased to 1,369 yesterday as the delta variant continues to spread in the state. Health officials have identified at least 1,964 cases of the delta variant in Wisconsin. That number is based on the subset of tests that get sequenced in the state, and lags several weeks due to the time involved in the sequencing process. 

Meanwhile, the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state has increased to 7,549 as of yesterday. The seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths has seen a recent uptick, reaching eight deaths per day for the first time since late February. 

See the latest DHS hospital data here: 

See the WHA site here: 

— Researchers at UW-Madison have found an addiction recovery effort cut recidivism among people who committed nonviolent, drug use-related crimes. 

The Madison Addiction Recovery Initiative was launched in 2017 by the Madison Police Department in response to the opioid epidemic. It provides an alternative to arresting these individuals, instead offering a “personalized treatment program” for substance use disorder. 

In a recent study published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers with the university’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering analyzed the results of the program and determined that the MARI effort “reduced the odds of recidivism within six months.” 

The results are part of an ongoing study, in which the researchers will continue to examine the impact of the initiative over a longer timeframe. Veronica White, a PhD student and author on the study, expects the study will also yield insights on how the program impacts the health outcomes of participants. 

“I hope it can be a model for future initiatives, in terms of how academic researchers should be involved from the beginning,” White said in a statement. 

Funding for the study came from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance. 

See the study here: 

— Gov. Tony Evers has announced $250 million in new ARPA grant funding, including $50 million for health care infrastructure projects. 

The other $200 million will go to the Neighborhood Investment Fund grant program, which will support local and tribal government projects such as workforce centers, entrepreneurship programs, affordable housing, transportation and child care. 

Meanwhile, the Healthcare Infrastructure Capital Investment Grants will go to projects that “support increasing access to health care for low income, uninsured, and underserved communities,” as well pandemic preparedness efforts. Local and tribal governments as well as health care nonprofits are eligible for these grants. 

The grants are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and will be administered by the state Department of Administration. 

See the release: 

— The latest crop report from the USDA shows harvesting of certain crops in the state is proceeding ahead of the five-year average. 

For the week ending Aug. 22, oats were 75 percent harvested, which is one day ahead of the five-year average. The latest cutting of alfalfa hay is two days ahead of the average at 82 percent complete. 

Meanwhile, corn growth progress is six days ahead of the average and soybeans are two days ahead of the average. 

Precipitation last week was below normal, the report also shows. Field conditions were warm and dry, with temperatures slightly above normal. 

See the report: 

— Madison-based Cellectar Biosciences has been awarded a $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, the company announced recently.

According to a release, the National Institutes of Health grant will support a study on the use of a drug delivery platform to treat Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia, a type of cancer of the lymphatic system. 

“We appreciate the recognition and funding that the NIH and NCI have chosen to provide Cellectar,” Cellectar Biosciences CEO James Caruso said in a statement. “This $2 million non-dilutive grant will be used to support and accelerate the ongoing study.”

The study was initiated in January 2021 and is expected to take about 18 months to fully enroll.

See more at Madison Startups: 


# Thompson won’t give lawmakers control of UW’s COVID policies

# Tony Evers to use $250 million in federal COVID funds to help disadvantaged communities

# Meet the 5 startups selected for gBETA Madison’s summer cohort



– Last chance to nominate farms for milk quality awards


– The biggest winning bids from around the state this past week


– Madison civic group to survey area businesses on Black employment


– Madison School Board member calls for vote on staff vaccination mandate

– Wisconsin colleges, universities using federal COVID-19 relief to pay off student debt


– Ideal weather for Wisconsin crops last week

– Northwestern Wisconsin experiences smoke, air quality impacts as boundary waters wildfires grow


– City of La Crosse looking for temporary workers in streets department


– Early New Glarus Brewery investors sue over profits dispute


– Tommy Thompson says UW System will enact COVID-19 policies without legislative approval


– Historic dairy plant on East North Avenue could become apartments

– Northern Oaks subdivision could add 47 million-dollar homes to one of Brookfield’s last vacant parcels


– Frustrated Madison arts leaders blast ‘inconsistent’ mask order


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