This week, the Joint Committee on Finance took major steps to addressing our state's skilled labor shortage. There are currently 98,000 openings on the state's job website. At the same time, unemployment in Wisconsin is at a 17-year low of 3.2%. Our goal this week was to prepare more workers for the jobs that are available. I believe we took some major steps toward this goal in the state budget.
To help fill some of those 98,000 vacant jobs, we are investing in skills training. This week, we put more money into the Fast Forward Program to train and retain highly skilled workers in high demand areas such as teacher development, nursing training, youth apprenticeships, and technical college workforce training. We are continuing to build a bridge between the needs of the private sector and the classroom.
We also invested in training for prisoners, so they will have marketable skills when they finish their sentences and quickly become productive members of society.
Also the budget committee:
- Committed to eliminating the Forestry Mill Tax - no more state property taxes!
- Funded programs to help eliminate homelessness
- Saved the Natural Resources magazine
- Invested in modernizing state campsites
- Cut 244 positions in state government
I will continue to look for ways to make government more efficient and deliver for you, the taxpayer.