Wisconsin Workforce Development Boards Awarded $2.5M to Address Rural Healthcare Workforce Shortages

MADISON, April 29, 2021 – Six workforce development boards, including the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin (WDBSCW), received $2.5M in funding from the U.S. Department of Labor’s H-1B Rural Healthcare Grant Program to address rural healthcare workforce shortages in communities across the state.

The grant program will fund the Collaboration of Wisconsin: Rural Investment in Community Healthcare (COW) to address these critical workforce shortages by expanding, developing and providing employment and training in direct patient healthcare occupations through January 31, 2025.

“Rural communities are in need of more trained healthcare workers, especially now in a pandemic,” said Seth Lentz, WDBSCW Chief Executive Officer. “This grant will hep us combine forces to combat the workforce shortages and connect job seekers to great careers.”

COW will serve communities within 17 counties to close the vast skills gap, reduce the number of open jobs and address the double-digit projected job openings in the healthcare industry.

Training and employment services will focus on occupations including ADN Registered Nurse, Home Health Aide, Medical Assistant and Clinical Lab Technician, Substance Abuse Counselor, Social & Human Services Assistant, and Phlebotomist.

Current curriculum will be modified to allow for virtual or hybrid learning, including the use of simulation machines. The grant will also assist in developing new training programs for select occupations.

COW will primarily serve eligible unemployed and underemployed workers and a smaller number of incumbent workers with a concentration on serving Native Americans, women and formerly incarcerated individuals.

This federal funding is administered by the Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board (NWWIB). Questions regarding the COW program can be directed to Mari Kay-Nabozny, NWWIB Chief Executive Officer, at moc.biwwnnull@iram or 715-682-7235 ext. 101.

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About Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin

The Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin (WDBSCW) is a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that collaborates with businesses and workforce in the Wisconsin counties of Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Jefferson, Marquette and Sauk with a mission to build public and private partnerships that support innovation and excellence in workforce development.