Earlier this month, Gov. Tony Evers called the legislature into special session for Wednesday, Sept.20, 2023, to consider a number of workforce-related initiatives originally included in his state budget bill but rejected by the legislature. Among the proposals Evers is asking lawmakers to act on include the creation of a paid family and medical leave program, financial support (over $300 million) for the state’s childcare industry, and funding ($60 million) to help address Wisconsin’s shortage of health care workers. The $60 million for health care workforce development would fund the following programs under Evers’ plan:
- $22.5 million for healthcare innovation grants, which will help the healthcare industry recruit and retain employees.
- $17 million for healthcare opportunity grants, which will go to local workforce development boards to assist individuals obtain employment in the healthcare field.
- $10 million to increase the number of nurse educators program in Wisconsin.
- $6 million for the WisCaregiver Careers program, which aims to increase the number of certified nursing assistants employed at nursing homes.
- $1.2 million for graduate medical training support grants.
- $936,600 for the state Department of Workforce Development to advance healthcare apprenticeships opportunities.
Despite the governor’s call for a special session, the Republican-controlled legislature is opposed to the Evers initiatives, and they are expected to quickly adjourn the Sept. 20 special session without acting on any of the proposals.