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Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) Grants

Grants to Wisconsin Employers, Agencies, and
Organizations for Worker Training Programs

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Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD)

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Grants starting at $5,000 to Wisconsin employers, public agencies, and private organizations to support employer-led worker training and placement programs. Each application must include at least one employer that commits to hiring successful trainees or increase the wages of incumbent worker trainees.

The Wisconsin Fast Forward program is a State funded grant program to provide employer-focused worker training grants. The Office of Skills Development (OSD) at the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) administers the grant program. Additionally, OSD works to encourage the development of innovative solutions at the local and regional level that bring together employers, educators, workforce development entities, and economic development organizations to meet area workforce demands.

This grant opportunity is for employers who can demonstrate a critical need for skilled workers and are seeking Wisconsin Fast Forward training grants for developing and implementing a skills training program. A skilled workforce is vital to economic development and community growth in Wisconsin. The need for skilled labor is typically driven by local and regional markets, requires specific expertise and/or skill credentials, and must be readily available to meet work schedules and work plans.

The Wisconsin Fast Forward program encourages increased collaboration between Wisconsin’s workforce trainers and employers to develop and execute business-led training programs. These training programs are designed to provide sustainable, short- and medium-term training, and placement of workers in positions that offer trainees long-term professional growth and economic opportunity.

To maintain a strong environment for private-sector job creation, Wisconsin must train workers to fill the employment demands of growing and expanding employer(s). The long-term goal of the Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training grant program is to encourage partnership between employer(s) and local or regional economic development organizations, workforce development boards, post-secondary institutions, and private training providers. It is anticipated that the relationships developed through Wisconsin Fast Forward funded training programs will continue to flourish after the grant has ended.

Applications must propose a training program that:

- Has not been previously offered by the applicant/consortium;
- Mitigates an employer’s critical workforce problem;
- Addresses a documented workforce demand;
- Is supported by local, regional, or statewide labor data;
- Results in training participants finding and retaining employment and/or results in incumbent workers earning higher wages post-training completion;
- Provides trainees with the education and skills determined necessary by the employer(s) to enhance the stability and growth of the business;
- Provides opportunities for income and career growth for trainees; and
- Includes at least one employer committing to the employment of these workers and/or incumbent worker wage increases, unless precluded under an existing union contract.

Employment categories and trainee cohorts to be identified in the application include the following:

- Unemployed Individuals: Trainees who are not employed at the time of training.
- Underemployed Workers: Trainees who currently work below skill level or part-time, but desire full-time work at the time of training. Underemployed worker trainees will gain new and better employment because of the training.
- New Hires: Trainees who are employed at an employer placement partner after the application date and will be on the payroll of the employer placement partner at the time the training starts.
- Incumbent Workers: Trainees who are employed at an employer placement partner prior to, and at the time of, application.

Grant applicants are encouraged to consider recruiting potential trainees from at-risk, vulnerable or special populations, such as: chronically unemployed individuals, economically disadvantaged individuals, exoffenders (trainees reintegrating into communities, or about to reintegrate into communities, when they are released after correctional time is served), first time graduates (trainees who have received a high school diploma or equivalent within the last two years), minorities, people with disabilities, veterans (trainees who have been discharged or released from active duty in the Armed Forces under honorable or general discharge conditions as defined in 5 U.S.C. 2101(2), "Armed Forces" is defined under 5 U.S.C. 2101(2) as the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard), and W-2 recipients. If the trainee cohort includes individuals from these populations and effectively identifies strategies for recruiting and retaining these trainees, the grant review committee may award additional points when scoring the application.

Successful grant applications will include training programs defined by employers and developed to meet special requirements of their business (or the consortium of employers participating in the grant program). The OSD recommends that training programs focus on skills attainment and certifications. Skills attainment develops skills that directly benefit the workers receiving the training by increasing their mastery of their occupation in their field of employment and/or provide new skills for new product lines or business expansion.

Project Requirements:

- Will train and employ (or retain) Wisconsin workers;
- Proposed training has not been previously offered by the Applicant/consortium; and
- Must be a newly-developed training program that is customized to address a documented business need.

Training must:

- Be short- or medium- term;
- Have goals that are accomplishable in the time allotted;
- Give the worker transferable, career building/enhancing skills;
- Provide a return on investment in higher wages, living wages, and people gaining employment; and
- Address an unmet need that is not already being addressed elsewhere; and
- Result in a new curriculum/certification/credit program that can be replicated elsewhere or be reused to provide or enhance future training

Grant Types:

Worker Training Grants for All Sectors: This Grant Program Announcement (GPA) is open for all industry sectors.

Worker Training Grants for Small Business Occupations: This Grant Program Announcement (GPA) is open for small businesses (no more than 50 full-time employees) in any industry sector.

Wisconsin Fast Forward Jump Start Worker Training Grants: This Grant Program Announcement (GPA) is open for all industry sectors and targets entry-level workers. Applications must propose a training program designed to meet the workforce needs of the specific business or business partners involved.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182056

Estimated Size of Grant:

-Worker Training Grants for All Sectors: $5,000 to $400,000
-Worker Training Grants for Small Business Occupations: $5,000 to $50,000
-Wisconsin Fast Forward Jump Start: $5,000 to $200,000

Term of Contract:

Duration of Training Courses: Grants support short- to medium-term training with each course or module lasting no longer than 12 months.

Training Project Period: The training project period, including curriculum development, training and pre- and post-training activities, can be no longer than 2 years.

Grant and match expenditures must be incurred during the training project period.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants may be an Employment Placement Partner (employer), a private organization, or public agency. Every application must include at least one employer. An employer or group of employers may partner with the following entities to submit an application: economic development corporation, workforce development board, non-profit organization, local government, trade association, training provider, etc.

Applicants must be: registered as a legal entity; current on all federal and state tax obligations; and financially viable.

Applicant Requirements:

- Must be a business (or private entity) or a consortium of businesses that employs workers in Wisconsin;
- Must be a legal entity registered with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions;
- Must be a financially viable organization, and current on all federal and state tax obligations;
- Must be able to match grant funds dollar for dollar (or fifty-cents on the dollar for Small Businesses) with cash and/or in-kind contributions for the project as specified in the related Grant Program Announcement (GPA); and
- Is prepared to be responsible for managing the grant funds, keeping receipts and records, submitting reimbursements, preparing for financial audits, and submitting the final report.

Employer/Employer Placement Partner(s) Requirements:

All Wisconsin Fast Forward (WFF) grant applications must include at least one employer to be eligible. Employers should meet the criteria set forth in Section II of the application, Project Eligibility. The employer may be the Applicant and may use an internal or external training provider.

For an applicant to be considered for funding, the following conditions must be met:

-The application must include at least one employer with a stated commitment to hire successful trainees or to increase wages for successful incumbent worker trainees
-Post-training wages must be at least 200 percent of individual federal poverty level wages ($11.67 per hour). If post-training wages are below this amount, please provide the reason they are lower.
-The application must include a complete description of the training program and anticipated outcomes for individuals.
-The employer must have at least one Wisconsin location and the trainees must be based out of that Wisconsin location
-Occupations trained must be occupations that are in demand in Wisconsin now or will be in demand within the next ten years, as determined by labor market information.
-Applications may include one or more partner(s), including: local or regional economic development organizations, workforce development boards, post-secondary educational institutions, or private training providers. The applicant must designate a fiscal agent in the application.

Ineligible Expenses:

-Wisconsin Fast Forward funds may not be used for the purchase of real estate or other capital assets/equipment, facility construction or remodeling, traditional public or private K-12 education, tuition or trainee wages, stipends, or fringe benefits.
-Funding cannot replace existing federal, state, or local government funding.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Fast Forward Training Opportunity

The training session is scheduled from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 8, 2018. You can attend in-person or online using WebEx. Space is limited at the in-person session. Register now to reserve a seat.

Training Opportunity: Submitting a Successful Wisconsin Fast Forward Grant
Thursday, November 8, 2018
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Register to attend in-person or online (via WebEx):
-Go to
-Enter you WFF application username and password (your Job Center of Wisconsin or UI password will work as well or you can create a new account)
-Search for "Submitting a Successful Wisconsin Fast Forward Grant"
-Locate the appropriate time and either "In-Person Session" or "WebEx Session" Click "Request"

In-Person Training Session Location
GEF 1 Room A415
201 E. Washington Ave.
Madison WI 53707

Pre-Application Information:

Match/Cost Sharing Requirement:

-Worker Training Grants for Wisconsin for All Sectors: Cash or in-kind match equal to the amount of the grant award isrequired.
-Worker Training Grants for Wisconsin Small Business Occupations: Cash or in-kind match equal to 50 percent the amount of the grant award is required.
-Wisconsin Fast Forward Jump Start: Cash or in-kind match equal to the amount of the grant award is required.

All funding identified as "match" or "in-kind" must be new funds and cannot replace existing federal, state, or local government funding. Substituting existing funds with state grant funds will result in additional fiscal monitoring and may result in an audit. Violations of permissible expenses may result in suspension of current or future funds under this program, repayment of monies awarded under this grant, and possible civil and/or criminal penalties.

Available as of July 1, 2017, both Standard Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants are open for application through the year. Award announcements are anticipated to occur within 60 days of the end of each quarter as outlined below:

- Submission Date: January 1 - March 31; Intent to Award on or Before: May 31
- Submission Date: April 1 - June 30; Intent to Award on or Before: August 30
- Submission Date: July 1 - September 30; Intent to Award on or Before: November 30
- Submission Date: October 1 - December 31; Intent to Award on or Before: February 28

Applicants are encouraged to apply early in each quarter, enabling grant staff to request necessary clarifications or additional information prior to grant evaluations.

To assure that staff will have adequate time to respond to your request and that you will have time to revise your application before the application deadline, requests must be made prior to the email deadline date below:

- Submission Date: January 1 – March 31; Email Deadline Date: March 10
- Submission Date: April 1 – June 30; Email Deadline Date: June 9
- Submission Date: July 1 – September 30; Email Deadline Date: September 9
- Submission Date: October 1 – December 31; Email Deadline Date: December 10

After the above email deadline date, staff are available to answer questions through 4:00pm on the final day of each quarter unless the quarter ends on a weekend or holiday, then staff are available through 4:00pm on the preceding weekday but may not be able to offer the same level of assistance.

Grant Award Summaries:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To apply:

Rita Atkinson

Therese M. Schmidt

John Roos

Andrew Heidt

Tegan McGillivray

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Office of Skills Development
201 E. Washington Ave.
Madison, WI 53703

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Wisconsin