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Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Ray Allen came to Racine Monday to announce Racine Works, a new workforce training program to help prepare City of Racine residents for public and private sector construction job opportunities tied to the influx of development throughout Racine County due directly or indirectly to the arrival of the Foxconn Technology Group facilities. It was also announced that Racine Works will receive $1.5 million in support through the City, the Gateway Foundation and other sources.

Ray Allen

“Our region will see more jobs tied to public and private development coming to the area than ever before,” said Racine Mayor Cory Mason. “It is our responsibility, and my personal commitment, to do everything we can to make sure Racine residents are well-positioned to get those jobs.”

In addition to workforce training, the Racine Works program will require local hiring for publicly funded municipal construction projects.

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“The City is anticipating more than $100 million in utility work tied to water infrastructure projects for the Foxconn project alone,” said Mason. “Thanks to the Racine Works program, we will be able to ensure that City residents have the skills needed for these jobs and that contractors will be committed to hiring from within the City.”

Through Racine Works, the City will partner with Racine County and other organizations and programs that are already training workers, including the DWD’s Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training grant program, WRTP/BIG STEP, and First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship program.

$500K from Racine

The program will be funded by $500K allocated by the City of Racine, a $100K grant from the Gateway Foundation and a $400K WFF grant from DWD. The City also announced that UMOS, a non-profit advocacy organization, has committed $500K in wage subsidies to Racine Works through its transitional jobs program.

“We are honored to collaborate with the City and County of Racine and local workforce partners by leveraging available training resources to address skilled labor demands in southeastern Wisconsin’s booming construction industry,” said DWD Secretary Ray Allen. “Governor Walker’s Wisconsin Fast Forward grant program will fund customized worker training solutions, helping disadvantaged individuals and incumbent workers fill good-paying local construction jobs and advance their careers.”

Rex Davenport

Rex Davenport is a reporter, editor and editorial project manager with more than 40 years of experience in newspaper, business magazines and other content channels.