Ray Allen is the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). As the state’s talent development agency, DWD connects employers with a robust pool of skilled workers; assists job seekers with disabilities in achieving their employment outcomes; and oversees the state’s Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights and Worker’s Compensation programs.
Q: What should Madisonians know about Ray Allen and DWD?
I wanted to take the opportunity to re-introduce myself to the citizens of Madison as the newly appointed Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD), and talk a little about my background and what services DWD has available in Wisconsin’s Capitol city.
Born in Milwaukee, I attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison where I received a degree in Journalism. Since that time, I have worked in both the private and public sector including previously owning a Madison newspaper called The Madison Times, and serving as partner and Vice President of Madtown Paradies, which operates retail stores at the Dane County Regional Airport.
Throughout my career in state government, I have held leadership positions in various agencies including as Secretary of the Department of Financial Services, as well as serving in the former State Office of Employee Development and Training, the former Department of Employment Relations, and, perhaps most notably, the former Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations, the precursor to today’s DWD.
My past experience in business and in government has allowed me to approach workforce issues with a unique perspective. I am excited for the opportunity to lead in the workforce and talent development arena, and am proud to talk about the important initiatives and programs DWD has available in Madison and across the state.
Q: What are some DWD programs, initiatives, and services available in Madison that our readers should be aware of?
Firstly, I want to note that DWD stands behind Governor Walker’s vision for Madison and will work with all workforce partners in the Madison area to make sure that vision is realized.
Dane County maintains one of the lowest unemployment rate in the state. There are many opportunities in the region and we will do everything we can to help workers and their families.
By investing in workforce development and worker training, Governor Walker and DWD are committed to ensuring that everyone who wants a job can find a job, in Madison and throughout Wisconsin.
DWD’s Job Service provides training and employment assistance in the Madison area. Services range from employment and training assistance, including resume building, career planning, and skill-building workshops, to assistance provided by our Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR).
One proven program offered by the DVR is the WI Promise initiative. Wisconsin Promise is a five-year, $32.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, designed to improve education and employment services for youth SSI (Social Security Supplemental Security Income) recipients and their families. Since April 2014, over 1,600 youth and their families have enrolled in the PROMISE initiative, with a total enrollment goal of 2,000 during the multiyear project.
Recently DWD launched a revamped www.JobCenterofWisconsin.com webpage, available online to all Wisconsinites, featuring over 80,000 job openings. The newly redesigned site features simplified registration, improved usability, advanced skills matching, as well as a Quick Job Search option, advanced mapping technology, and a personalizable MyLMI feature to customize your experience which will better help connect your talent with job openings in and around Madison.
Q: How do our readers find out more about these programs and initiatives?
Readers can find out more about all of the services mentioned as well as advanced skill training programs such as Wisconsin Fast Forward, and Registered and Youth Apprenticeship, at their local or regional Job Center. They can find hours and locations for centers in their area at www.JobCenterofWisconsin.com.
Wisconsin Promise can only accept enrollments though April 28, 2016. As we and our partners in the program step up our recruitment efforts, we also encourage families to contact our Promise team by visiting https://promisewi.com/ or calling 1-855-480-5618.