On August 8, Governor Tony Evers called a special session of the Legislature, urging lawmakers to consider a $1 billion workforce development package the Governor said was needed to address the state’s workforce shortage crisis.
Republicans, who control both houses of the Legislature, convened the session as required by law, but quickly adjourned without acting. They called the special session a “political stunt” that was fiscally irresponsible and did not provide real solutions to Wisconsin’s workforce challenges.
The Governor’s proposed legislative package included $365 million to support childcare programs; the creation of a paid family and medical leave program that would cost $243 million; $66 million for the UW; $40 million for the state’s technical colleges; and nearly $60 million to help address the shortage of healthcare workers across the state. The funding to address the healthcare worker shortage included:
· $10 million for the state’s nurse educators program, which incentivizes nursing professors to remain in Wisconsin.
· $6 million for the WisCaregiver Careers program, which is intended to increase the number of certified nursing assistants employed at nursing homes.
· $17 million for healthcare opportunity grants, which will go to local workforce development boards to help individuals obtain employment in the healthcare field.
· $936,600 for the state Department of Workforce Development to work on healthcare apprenticeships.
· $22.5 million for healthcare innovation grants, which will help the healthcare industry recruit and retain employees.
· Over $1.2 million for graduate medical training support grants.