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State lacks money to retrain workers who've lost their jobs, even after federal stimulus infusion

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Wisconsin does not have enough money to retrain all the workers who've lost their jobs even after getting federal stimulus money for that purpose.

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Some local workforce development agencies have stopped admitting new people into training programs, for fear the money will run out by the time they finish their courses.

Local leaders pleaded with state Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman last week for more funding.

But the state says it's doing all it can, and it's applying for more federal emergency grants to provide the needed retraining.

The number of Wisconsin workers who lost their jobs from plant closings is up 31 percent in the first nine months of this year, compared to the same time in 2008. Meanwhile, the state says it has gotten $10.4 million less in federal worker retraining funds this year.

And a $16 million boost from stimulus funds has still not been enough.

Last week, the state technical college system projected a 15 percent jump in full-time equivalent enrollments this fall.

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