New W3 program opens to eligible employers, UI claimants

Pilot seeks to connect Unemployment Insurance claimants with training placements

Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson yesterday encouraged eligible employers and Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants to apply for the Wisconsin Workers Win (W3) pilot program, which formally launched June 1 in southern Wisconsin.

Newson said W3, part of the state’s “Wisconsin Working” program, will attempt to connect newly unemployed individuals with up to six weeks of training at the worksite of an employer that has a current job opening. The objective of the program is to help the UI claimant keep his or her workplace skills current, and to give employers a chance to determine whether the trainee would be the right fit as a new hire.

“This is truly a win-win for everyone involved,” Newson said, “and I encourage eligible employers and claimants to take advantage of this program today.”

Participants and employers are urged to contact the three DWD regional partners that are administering the program in workforce-development areas designated for this pilot:

  • UMOS, which serves Milwaukee County.
  • Racine County Human Services, which serves Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties.
  • Community Action, Inc., which serves Rock, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, Grant, and Richland counties.

Contact information about each service provider, W3 eligibility criteria for participants and employers, and other details can be accessed from DWD’s website. Service providers are ready to take applications from interested employers and prospective trainees.

In general, eligible UI claimants must have begun receiving benefits on or after April 1, 2012, and must be in the first 20 weeks of regular state unemployment benefits. They must also live within one of the three workforce-development areas designated for the pilot.

In addition to continuing on unemployment benefits, trainees also receive a $75 weekly stipend to help offset additional costs of training. The pilot phase is expected to serve approximately 500 training participants through June 30, 2013.

Legislation creating the program was co-authored by Senator Van Wanggaard and Representative Mark Honadel, and signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker earlier this year.