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Letter from Rep. Petryk: Gov. Walker signs Workforce Development Legislation

Governor Walker Signs Workforce Development Legislation

On Tuesday, December 10, 2013, Governor Walker signed two bills into law, Senate Bills 331 and 334. These two new state laws were a part of the Governor’s workforce development package unveiled earlier this fall. 

Senate Bill 331, of which I was the Assembly lead author, establishes a grant program to promote career and technical education in high schools. The bill requires the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) to award grants of $1,000 to school districts for each pupil who completes an approved, industry-recognized certification and who graduates from the school district. 

Now known as 2013 Wisconsin Act 59, this law states that DPI is required to annually confer with the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) to identify industries and occupations that face workforce shortages or shortages of adequately trained, entry-level workers. DPI would then be required to approve industry-recognized certification programs that address workforce shortages in the identified industries and occupations. 

Act 59 is a simple yet significant way we can help our graduating seniors get a head start as they prepare to enter the workplace. This legislation passed both the Assembly and Senate with unanimous support. 

Senate Bill 334 (2013 Wisconsin Act 60) provides a technical excellence higher education scholarship. Before the signing of this legislation into law, the current Academic Excellence Higher Education Scholarship was awarded to those students who are at the top of their class with a state scholarship; however, very few individuals actually use this money towards to technical degree. This new state law will fund a new scholarship program to reward students who are at the top of their class for the use towards a technical education at our state’s technical colleges.

The Governor also recently signed Senate Bill 274 (2013 Wisconsin Act 58) which increases funding for vocational rehabilitation services and allows Wisconsin to maximize federal funds. This new law will give the state the necessary funds to assist more people with employment services and counseling. The hope is that through this funding, we can assist more individuals who wish to return to the workforce. 

Also this week, the Governor signed two more bills, of which I was the primary Assembly author, into law. Senate Bill 118 authorizes the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs (DMA) to hire an additional deputy adjutant general which will replace the current position of Chief of Staff. Senate Bill 119 ratifies the state and province emergency management assistance compact. This new law authorizes the provinces of Canada, including Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, to participate in the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. It also allows for mutual aid in the event of a natural or man-made disaster between Canada and multiple northern states. Similar legislation is being considered by or has already become law in other border states. 


The Holiday Season at the State Capitol

The Christmas holiday season is now upon us and with that comes many activities at the state capitol. Almost daily, the capitol is host to student groups who travel from around the state to play holiday music for the public to enjoy. Also, the capitol is decorated with a Christmas tree that is adorned with hundreds of ornaments made by students across Wisconsin. 

This year’s Christmas tree theme is Wisconsin Traditions. Many ornaments pay homage to the Green Bay Packers, the Milwaukee Brewers, farming, the dairy industry, and many other wonderful Wisconsin traditions. Also, there is a Jewish menorah as well as several scenes expressing differing ideologies. 

This year’s 30-foot tall Christmas tree was donated by Jim Draeger of Antigo, Wisconsin. The state’s new tree stand was built by Boumatic, a Madison-based company, and Patti Hellenbrand of Lodi, Wisconsin and Cindy Hasse of Cottage Grove, Wisconsin led the quilting of a brand new tree skirt. Thank you to all who contributed their talents to the decorating of the state capitol!

Operation Tip Up



Upcoming Events in the 93rd Assembly District

13th Annual Spring Valley Lion's Ice Fishing Derby

February 15th, 2014, 9:00-2:00 p.m.

2014 Hiring Our Heroes Veterans Event

Tuesday, March 25, 2014, 10-1:30 p.m.

National Guard Armory

1730 North Lane, Eau Claire