Governor Walker Announces $5.1 Million in Commute to Careers Grants
“These grants will give thousands of Wisconsin workers improved access to meaningful jobs or training opportunities that they need to enter the workforce.”
MADISON – Governor Scott Walker today announced that 29 grants, totaling more than $5.1 million, have been awarded under the Commute to Careers program, a multi-agency initiative to eliminate transportation barriers for workers seeking to advance their careers or enter the workforce. The program is funded by the Wisconsin Departments of Workforce Development (DWD) and Transportation (WisDOT).
“These grants will give thousands of Wisconsin workers improved access to meaningful jobs or training opportunities that they need to enter the workforce,” Governor Walker said. “Given Wisconsin’s historically low unemployment rate, it is important that we eliminate these barriers to ensure that no workers are left on the sidelines.”
The goal of the Commute to Careers program is to expand the pool of labor talent by connecting workers with affordable transportation to and from work or training programs. DWD and WisDOT will be requesting an additional $8 million in funding in the 2019-21 biennial budget to continue the Commute to Careers program. Over time, it is expected that private funding will replace public dollars, establishing a long-term network of transportation options that will enable both rural and urban workers to reach training and employer sites.
“The Commute to Careers program will build strong partnerships between the public and private sectors to address the needs of hard-working people who face barriers getting to and from work,” DWD Secretary Ray Allen said. “With Wisconsin’s unemployment rate at or below 3 percent for eight consecutive months, we need everyone in the game to keep our economy strong.”
DWD has awarded 23 grants totaling $4,338,350, while WisDOT made six grants totaling $832,072.
“The Commute to Careers is a life-changing transportation solution,” WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross said. “This is an essential effort to ensure Wisconsin workers have the means to get to and from work, benefiting themselves and their families.”
YWCA Madison, Inc., Madison – DWD intends to issue a grant of $200,338 to YWCA Madison, Inc. to expand its longstanding YW Transit program. YW Transit provides on-demand, 24/7 transportation services for low-income Dane County residents. YWCA Madison has identified transportation issues going to and from work sites located outside the City of Madison. The organization has recognized that these issues have created a major employment barrier for their predominately urban client base. DWD funds will be used to provide an additional 7,800 work-related trips annually through YW Transit.