Wisconsin Wins offers employers new training program for hiring unemployed individuals

Arnstein & Lehr attorney Jesse Dill

Jesse Dill

On March 26, 2012, a new pilot program will go into effect for Wisconsin employers that will allow them to give potential new employees a training period before making a final hiring decision. The new law is also designed to help employees who are out of work to receive training for a new job. The program, known as Wisconsin Wins, received bipartisan support and was signed by Governor Scott Walker on March 12, 2012.

Under the new law, employers can apply with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to offer “special occupational training” for an open position with the company. The application will require the employer to affirm that it has a job opening for each training participant it seeks. Individuals who receive unemployment insurance are eligible to participate. The Department of Workforce Development will place these individuals with an eligible employer. An individual who is placed with the employer may then undergo a period of training of 20 to 24 hours per week, which may last up to 6 weeks. The individual undergoing training will be considered an employee of the employer only for workers’ compensation purposes. Any employer who the Department of Workforce Development finds does not hire a reasonable percentage of qualified trainees may be prevented from receiving additional participant assignments.

Individuals who complete the training with an employer will receive a training certificate from the Department of Workforce Development. As an additional incentive to individuals receiving unemployment insurance, the Department of Workforce Development will pay a stipend of $75 per week for each week the claimant participates in special occupational training.

As a pilot program, the Department of Workforce Development will report to the Wisconsin legislature by May 30, 2103 on the effectiveness of Wisconsin Wins. Unless extended, the law is scheduled to sunset on July 1, 2013.

Arnstein & Lehr LLP attorneys are available to discuss any questions employers may have about participating in this program.

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