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Governor announces $5.6 million state grant to Gateway for HSED program

Governor Evers announces grant

Governor Tony Evers today, together with Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes and Department of Workforce Development Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek, announced a $5.6 million grant to Gateway Technical College to bolster the efforts of the college and its partners to help students earn their 5.09 High School Equivalency Diploma.

The grant will provide Gateway, Higher Expectations for Racine County, YWCA Southeast Wisconsin and the Southeastern Wisconsin Workforce Development Board with added staff and finances to increase high school attainment opportunities for area residents.

The grant was one of 12 regional projects totaling nearly $60 million aimed at developing long-term solutions to Wisconsin’s workforce challenges.

“Wisconsin has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country and we have high labor participation, but our state faces long-standing workforce challenges that existed for years before the pandemic,” said Governor Evers.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution to addressing the workforce challenges across our state, so these funds are critically important to encourage regions and communities to develop cutting-edge, long-term solutions to the unique workforce challenges they face. These investments will make a big difference for our workers, families, and communities and the long-term success of our state.”

Evers made his announcement at Gateway’s Horizon Center for Transportation Technology in Kenosha.

“On behalf of our regional partners, we are excited for the opportunity to address the workforce talent gap by expanding pre-high school programming and adult education pathways,” said Gateway Technical College President and CEO Bryan Albrecht.

“Our collective goal is to serve 1,300 students with employment credentials that can lead to a stronger economic outcome for their future and link to ongoing education and training opportunities.”

Cyndean Jennings, Gateway dean of the School of Pre-College and Momentum Programs, said the partnership – called Southeast Wisconsin’s Talent Optimization Project –  “is designed to meet residents where they are at and help them take the next steps to earn an HSED and the benefits it brings.”

“Residents, who may think earning their high school credential is no longer an option, now have an option,” said Jennings.

This project will offer a 4-week pre-HSED program, followed by a 16-week Work Ready HSED program. Courses will be offered in-person and online, onsite classes will be centrally located and offered during the day and in the evening, transportation and childcare services will be sourced as needed and individual case management will provide support services and guidance to keep students on track.

It also includes resources for workforce navigators, who will provide more one-on-one interaction with students to succeed in the program. Navigators will also work with completers to take that next step in their education and employment, which includes enrollment in post-secondary schooling or training programs.

Photos from the event: