New state program aiming to connect workers with jobs
Dubbed "Wisconsin Workers Win," the program is designed to reduce unemployment in three hard-hit Wisconsin areas, including Rock County.
Starting in June, the one-year pilot program will enable 500 people who are in their first 20 weeks of collecting regular unemployment insurance benefits to participate in a six-week training placement with participating employers.
In addition to receiving benefits, trainees will receive $75 weekly stipends to defray costs such as travel and child care.
The stipends and continued benefits will cut costs for participating employers and provide claimants opportunities to train before being hired, said Reggie Newson, secretary of the state's Department of Workforce Development.
Employers will pay training costs, and the goal is to turn training into full-time employment, Newson said.
Newson was at ANGI on Tuesday to unveil the program, which will be serviced locally by Community Action of Rock and Walworth Counties.
Lisa Furseth, executive director, said Community Action would work with area employers and those receiving unemployment benefits to get people into the program.
"We have several programs already available to help people get a job and build a better life," Furseth said. "This is another tool in our toolbox to help do that."
Community Action bid to participate locally and learned last week of its selection.
"This is a fast-track program, and we have a lot to learn," Furseth said.
ANGI produces compression equipment used to fuel vehicles that run on compressed natural gas. Markets for the equipment are emerging in two dozen countries worldwide, and the company has experienced double-digit growth in the last several years.
The company has outgrown its Milton plant and will move into 215,000 square feet of space at the former ThyssenKrupp/Gilman plant in Janesville,
The relocation will allow ANGI to expand production capacity in response to the increased demand for its products and services.
The Janesville facility includes 150,000 square feet of high-bay manufacturing and storage space that are serviced by eight sets of 15-ton bridge cranes.
Construction on the site is under way, and ground will be broken Thursday on a 6,500-square-foot research and test facility for product development and validation testing.
Tracy Clerkin, ANGI's manager of human resources, said some of the positions the company plans to fill later this year in Janesville could be suitable for people who have gone through the new pilot program.
The company now employs 122 people, and new positions are expected on the assembly floor, she said.