Weekly Radio Address: Working for Wisconsin









Madison – Governor Scott Walker released his Weekly Radio Address today titled, “Working for Wisconsin.”

Hi, this is Scott Walker.

This week, we continued our work to build a better Wisconsin by announcing two new Project SEARCH sites under our Better Bottom Line initiative. Project SEARCH is a great program that helps young adults with disabilities get the employment training and skills they need to enter the workforce.

You see, when employers recognize the unique abilities of these students, it improves their bottom line. We are working to connect individuals with disabilities with the resources and the training they need to move towards greater independence and success in the workforce.

Countless employers across the state are already benefiting from working with these individuals and the hard work and dedication they bring to work, which is why we invested additional funds to expand Project SEARCH in our Blueprint for Prosperity.

Going forward, we are focused on continuing to improve workforce readiness for all Wisconsinites – so that everyone can enjoy the freedom and prosperity that comes from work.


Gov. Scott Walker rejects Kenosha casino plan

Gov. Scott Walker’s office announced on Friday that he will reject the plan for the Kenosha casino.

The Menominee Tribe and Hard Rock International wanted to build an $800 million complex on the former Dairyland Greyhound site, but Walker remained skeptical of the potential cost for the state.

On Tuesday, Jan. 20, the state and the Menominee Tribe made an agreement, or compact, that was sent off to the Bureau of Indian affairs for approval.
In the compact, the Menominee Tribe agreed to compensate the state for any future money the state is required to pay the Potowatomi Tribe. But taxpayers could still be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars if the Potowatomi take this to court and win.
“The bottom line is we’re still trying to work with all of the interested parties to get to a point where the state doesn’t lose out on something like $100 million or more because of the compacts of Jim Doyle,” Walker said previously.
Both Walker, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Menominee could reject the compact between the state and the Menominee Tribe. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Menominee have not announced their decisions.

Governor Scott Walker Announces Workforce Readiness Plan




Governor Scott Walker today is making stops at Wel Companies in De Pere, and Sulzer Machine & Manufacturing, Inc. in Mosinee, to talk about the investments in workforce readiness included in the 2015-17 State Budget proposal.


“We know employers in Wisconsin have jobs available, but they don’t have enough qualified employees to fill those positions,” Governor Walker said.  “With this budget, we are addressing some of the barriers keeping people from achieving true freedom and prosperity and the independence that comes with having a good job and doing it well.”


Helping People Move from Government Dependence to Independence:

Some employers in high-demand fields, including manufacturing, require their employees be drug-free for safety and other reasons.  To assist those looking to secure these positions, the budget includes a plan to require drug testing of those who are applying for or receiving benefits from programs, which may include unemployment insurance, FoodShare, Transform Milwaukee, transitional jobs, and others.


Those who fail the drug test will be offered the opportunity to participate in a drug treatment program, free of charge, as well as job training.


Workforce Readiness Initiatives in Governor Walker’s 2015-17 State Budget plan:

    • Technical College Tuition Freeze – Applies to those pursuing training in high-need occupations.
    • Technical College Performance Funding – Increased to 100 percent of state aid.
    • Financial Aid – Maintains higher education financial aid and increases funds for technical education scholarships for high school graduates who exceed in career and technical education courses.
    • Transform Milwaukee Jobs Program – Invests $5 million annually, and extends to high-need rural areas of the state, including Racine and Kenosha, at $3 million over the biennium.
    • Wisconsin Fast Forward – Continues investments at $7.5 million annually, as well as maintaining increased funding for apprenticeships and to help people with disabilities who want to transition to the workforce.
    • Career Planning – Continues funding for academic and career planning for schools, so children can prepare higher education and a career.
    • Wisconsin Works – Reduces time spent on Wisconsin Works from 60 months to 48, to encourage more rapid placement in jobs.
    • Teacher Licensure – Creates alternative pathways to allow a candidate with real life experience to pass a competency test to gain a teacher license.
    • Veterans Employment – Consolidates initiatives in the veterans’ agency to elevate them and improve their focus, waives CDL fees for veterans, adds credit for prior learning for veterans with military training to the performance measures used to aid technical colleges.
    • Victory Spark program – Invests $500,000 to maintain program, a business accelerator for veterans that has resulted in 39 startups and 150 new jobs.


Investments in Workforce Readiness in the 2015-17 State Budget proposal build on Governor Walker’s priority of developing our workforce, through the Blueprint for Prosperity and Wisconsin Fast Forward, and other legislation, with more than $100 million in investments so far:

  • Sixteen technical colleges received almost $28 million to reduce wait lists, and opened up availability for almost 5,000 students to get training for high-demand fields.
  • Collaborative projects among high schools, technical colleges, businesses, and others are increasing opportunities that result in industry-recognized certifications for high school pupils. DWD announced in May intent to award 30 grants for up to 949 high school pupils and could involve employment at up to 153 employers.
  • Under Governor Walker’s Better Bottom Line initiative, which helps people with disabilities enter the workforce, DWD eliminated a waiting list for people with significant disabilities seeking assistance to achieve independence and self-sufficiency through employment.
  • 4,415 individuals with disabilities successfully reached their employment goal and entered the workforce, the highest level in 15 years.
  • Project SEARCH program, which helps high school students with disabilities transition into employment is expanding from seven Wisconsin sites to 27.
  • In 2014, DWD announced approximately $12.5 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grants to equip almost 13,800 current and new workers with the high-demand skills since the program began in 2013.
  • DWD has also awarded funding of approximately $2.1 million in grants for school‐to‐work programs across the state to train up to 949 high school pupils.
  • Following investments in Youth Apprenticeship (YA), enrollment for the 2013-14 school year reached 2,469, a 10 year high for the YA program.
  • DWD’s Office of Veterans Service (OVS) was in the top ten states nationally with a 65 percent Entered Employment Rate for Veterans served by OVS.  Wisconsin was tied for 2nd place nationally with an Employment Retention Rate of 83 percent.
  • After inheriting a UI Trust Fund deficit of $1.4 billion, the Trust Fund now has a positive balance this year following the enactment of historic reforms by the Governor Walker and the Legislature.
  • New Transitional Jobs Program helps low-income and low-skilled workers transition to employment, providing immediate income and work opportunities.
  • Expanded WAT grant program allows more employers to participate.


Wisconsin’s Growing Need for Skilled, Motivated Workers

As of this week, there are nearly 70,000 open positions posted on the Job Center of Wisconsin website (https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com/.  Over the next eight years until 2022, it is estimated that there will be 760,200 job openings and replacement positions that need to be filled in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker Attends Dairy Business Association Annual Conference




Governor Scott Walker attends the annual Wisconsin Dairy Association (WDBA) business conference this evening, which is held at Monona Terrace in Madison.  Drawing dairy producers and industry representatives from across the state and nation, the theme for the conference this year is “2015 Dairy Strong: Gain the Edge.”

“The dairy industry is a vital aspect of Wisconsin’s economy, contributing $43.4 billion every year.” Governor Walker said.   “The Dairy Business Association’s conference provides the opportunity for dairy producers to connect with industry representatives and brainstorm ways to continue to develop the dairy industry here in Wisconsin and across the nation.” 

The Wisconsin Dairy Business Association includes members from all aspects of the dairy industry including dairy producers, vendors, and industry supporters.  The WDBA is committed to growing and fostering success for its members as well as all of Wisconsin’s dairy industry through assisting in modernizing and improving the dairy infrastructure in our state and educating the public on the value and benefits of a strong agriculture community.


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Weekly Radio Address: “Christmastime at the Executive Residence”



Hi, this is Scott Walker.


I love this time of year – especially all of the opportunities we have to host groups at the Executive Residence for tours and events.  This week, the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County stopped by for a tour of the holiday decorations.  They actually made the ornaments for the tree in the sun room – Which is always one of the most popular displays.  We are big supporters of the Boys and Girls Club and appreciate all the work that they do for young children all across the state.  In offering after-school academic enrichment programs, they provide tutoring and guidance, fostering relationships between children and a strong role model, the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County helps to prepare kids for success, both inside and outside of the classroom.


But anyone can stop by the Executive Residence for a free Holiday Tour during the Holiday Open House Hours.  There’s still time left this year – visit WisconsinExecutiveResidence.com for tour dates and times.


When you stop by the Residence, you’ll notice the beautiful décor provided by area designers from all across the state. My favorite tree, every year, is the troop’s tree.  You see it right away when you enter the residence.  This tree stands proudly against the backdrop of Lake Mendota, and it pays tribute to all men and women who served and those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice fighting for the freedoms we enjoy today.  On this tree is one ornament for each Wisconsin service member who has lost their life serving this country, since 9-11. It is a constant remind of debt we owe, and the gratitude we have for all who serve our great country.  


As we continue to enjoy the holiday season, please keep members of our Armed Forces, veterans, and their families in your hearts, and pray that those on active duty will return to us safely.  Merry Christmas.


Governor Scott Walker Submits Letter in Opposition to EPA Regulations


Madison – Governor Scott Walker submitted comments today in opposition of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which proposes increased regulations aimed at reducing CO2 from existing power plants.  The proposed rule would have a detrimental effect on Wisconsin’s manufacturing-based economy, as well as household ratepayers. 

“We have made major investments to ensure we are providing our citizens with reliable, clean, affordable power,” Governor Walker said.  “If enacted, the EPA’s Clean Power Plan would be a blow to Wisconsin residents and business owners, and I join business leaders, elected officials, and industry representatives in opposing this plan.  I urge federal officials to carefully consider our concerns and the adverse economic impact this plan could have on our state, as well as the nation.”

According to modeling conducted by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, the current version of the proposed rule would cost the state between $3.3 and $13.4 billion.  A study by Energy Ventures Analysis estimates the average Wisconsin household would see its electricity bill increase by more than $485 in 2020.

The Department of Natural Resources and Public Service Commission of Wisconsin have spent months reviewing the rule and soliciting input from all affected parties, since its proposal in June of this year.  Among other items, their review uncovered a number of flaws with the development of the emission rate goals, which penalizes states that have taken early action to reduce CO2 emissions by asking them to reduce emissions more than states that have done less.  Wisconsin has invested approximately $10.5 billion over the past 15 years to help reduce CO2 emissions, increase renewable energy usage and energy efficiency, and install air pollution control equipment.  

Governor Walker has asked the EPA to reconsider the rule based on the impact the rule will have on the cost and reliability of electricity, not only to Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector and the 455,000 people it employs, but on every ratepayer in the state and the nation.

Governor Scott Walker Joins Tourism Industry in Support of Wisconsin’s “Big Bundle Up” Campaign

Madison Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s tourism industry are working to keep thousands of residents a little warmer this winter with The Big Bundle Up campaign.  For the fourth year, under the state-wide charity initiative, people are encouraged to donate new and gently used gloves, hats, scarves, coats, and other winter gear for those in need. Over the last three years, Wisconsin residents, travelers and businesses contributed more than 32,000 winter items donated to charities all across the state.

“From the kindness of organizations who have stepped up to serve as collection sites, to the generosity of individuals and businesses that donate, this program has been a real success,” said Governor Scott Walker.  “We can’t thank the tourism industry members enough for their participation and the people of Wisconsin for choosing to donate to this great cause.”

More than 70 sites including Travel Wisconsin Welcome Centers, tourist information centers, businesses and offices are serving as drop-off sites today through Jan. 2, 2015.  A complete list of locations is available here or by going to http://www.travelwisconsin.com/experience-fun/seasonal/winter/the-big-bundle-up.

In addition to individual donations at visitor centers, private businesses have also contributed to the campaign. The last two years, Wisconsin Knitwear, a Milwaukee-based company, generously provided 1,500 knit hats that were donated to The United Way of Greater Milwaukee. This year, Wisconsin Knitwear has again agreed to donate 1,200 hats to help those in need.

“The Big Bundle Up embodies what the state of Wisconsin is all about. It’s an award-winning campaign in which the entire tourism industry works together for a common cause – to bring warmth to everyone,” said Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett.


The public can also drop off donations at the Wisconsin Executive Residence, which is open for holiday open house tours. Tours of the residence, which is beautifully decorated for the holidays, are free and open to the public. Please visit the Executive Residence website for the open house tour schedule and more information at http://wisconsinexecutiveresidence.com.


The Big Bundle Up campaign received a “Best in Show” award and an “Award of Excellence” and at the 2013 Public Relations Society of America’s Paragon Awards in Milwaukee.


The mission of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is to market the state as the Midwest’s premier travel destination for fun by executing industry-leading marketing programs and establishing strategic partnerships. The Department plays a significant role in generating greater economic impact and jobs for Wisconsin. The portal for traveler information can be found at www.TravelWisconsin.com.