Reviewed and/or Updated on: September 7, 2017

Workforce Advancement Training

The Wisconsin Technical College System Board awards funds to promote increased investment in the development of incumbent workers, improve Wisconsin businesses’ productivity and competitiveness, augment the state’s economic base, support career pathways and expand technical college training and technical assistance services to businesses and industry.  Grants will be awarded to upgrade the skills and productivity of employees of established businesses operating in Wisconsin, with the additional objective of supporting regional workforce and economic development efforts.  Training under these grants must focus on occupational skills but can include a combination of occupational, academic, and employability topics or courses.  Grants will also be awarded for market expansion or business diversification services to established Wisconsin businesses.

Applications are encouraged to implement activities related to career pathways and bridge programs as defined under the RISE initiative; descriptions and examples can be found at the RISE link at the bottom of the page.

FY 2017-18 WAT Grant applications must be received no later than May 1, 2017.

Applications for Small Business proposals will be accepted on a continuing basis. A complete electronic pdf file is required for each submission. Please do not send Small Business applications in the same submission as General Business applications. 

WATGs in the "Act 125" Report 

2007 Wisconsin Act 125 required the Department of Commerce n/k/a Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), in collaboration with other state agencies, to post information about state economic development grants on the worldwide web. The WTCS contributes information about the Workforce Advancement Training Grants to this online report. Click the WEDC link in the links section near the bottom of the page to visit the WEDC's Act 125 report website.  Thereafter, the Annual Report on Economic Development can be found under Program Outcomes.

Regional Industry Skills Education (RISE)

New regional partnerships and industry sector initiatives, efforts to target training investments and align technical college and state university programs, and pioneering local industry-driven career pathway models all are laying the groundwork for fresh approaches to connecting worker education to student and employer needs.  Fulfilling the potential of these initiatives amid pressures on federal and state resources will require extraordinary interagency collaboration and even more rapid and intensive innovation.

Joyce Foundation “Shifting Gears” funds will provide the catalyst for such innovation through a new “Regional Industry Skills Education” (RISE) initiative led by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), in partnership with Wisconsin’s 11 Workforce Development Boards and 16 technical college districts.  The RISE initiative will dedicate resources specifically to aligning regional partnerships, sector-based programs, and state systems around a career pathways model; to bringing industry-driven career pathways to scale throughout the state; and to providing new career-ladder footholds to low-wage workers with limited skills.

Learn more about the RISE initiative and follow its progress on a new website that is under development at  (External Site)

For more information contact:  Scott DuBenske -