News Column

Democrats Propose Jobs Bills That Would Help Tech Colleges

Nov. 1, 2011

Meg Jones


State Democrats announced a package of job creation bills they plan to introduce later this week that would funnel money to technical colleges facing filled classes and waiting lists or job training programs.

Among the nine jobs bills are initiatives that would provide grants to technical college programs that have waiting lists for skills in demand by Wisconsin businesses.

Lee Rasch, president of Western Technical College in La Crosse, said of the more than 60 programs offered this fall, 23 had waiting lists of students hoping to get in. And Brian Albrecht, president of Gateway Technical College in Racine, said nearly 65 associate degree or other training programs are at or near capacity.

Assembly Minority Leader Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, admitted that Democrats haven't reached out to Republicans or the governor on the jobs bills and though he said it's unlikely the initiatives would get approval by the end of the special session this week, the bills could get traction in upcoming legislative sessions.

"I don't think they'll be passed by Thursday," Barca said, "but the governor indicated we'll meet again in December."

State Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller, D-Monona, said the bills would address the need to put people back to work quickly or retrain for jobs that have openings.

"This is a sound investment for the state," said Miller.

Source: (c) 2011 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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