New Shelter Shed Delivery Photo
“I plan to use what I learned to take a more leadership position at work. Being able to be confident in what I do, based on what I learned, will be very valuable.”
— Construction Essentials Participant

In Northwest Wisconsin, the construction industry is projected to see growth in several occupations. From 2014 – 2024, Construction Laborers and Operating Engineers are expected to increase by 18% and 15%, respectively. Most of these high growth, high wage occupations only require short term training. To help supply employers in this industry with a future pipeline of workers, the Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board (NWWIB) and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) have partnered together to offer a training called Construction Essentials.

During the Construction Essentials, students gained the knowledge and skills necessary for job success in the construction industry. Over the course of the 10-week program, students worked together while learning about and applying various skills and techniques to build two storage sheds. Both sheds were donated to two Ashland area non-profits, including Ashland Parks and Recreation and the New Day Shelter.

A total of eight participants are enrolled in the course, which will conclude on June 23, 2017. Participants who complete the training will earn a Short-Term Technical Diploma. The training is focused on the fundamentals of building design, energy efficiency concepts, construction basics, layout operation, print reading, and estimating and materials of industry. Students in the training not only gained the technical skills needed on the job, but also developed valuable soft skills as well. 

Funding for this training was made possible through the combination of several different organizations and programs. Some of the funding sources include the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and State of Wisconsin. These funding sources allowed for eligible participants to attend the training at no cost to them.

To continue to support the talent pipeline needed to meet the regional industry demand, the NWWIB and WITC plan to offer the Construction Essentials course again later this year and again in 2018.

Construction Essentials Building Shed Wall
Construction Essentials Shed Building
New Day Shelter Shed Donation Transportation


Recently, the NWWIB provided training to participants in the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Summer Youth Program in Northwest Wisconsin. The training utilized curriculum from the National Retail Federation’s Retail Industry Fundamentals course, which is designed to train first time jobseekers and entry-level retail associates on the basics of providing “good” customer service. Retail Industry Fundamentals is part of Rise Up curriculum, which offers training and credentials that help entry-level workers and jobseekers gain skills to move along the career ladder.

In addition to providing this training, the NWWIB is developing a retail career pathway that will act as a guide to help individuals navigate the training opportunities that are available online and locally. The pathway shows that retail is more than just a “job”; it is also a career and launchpad to so many other opportunities for success.


May 2017 Unemployment Rates for Northwest Wisconsin (Workforce Development Area 7)  compared to the state unemployment average

May 2017 Unemployment Rates for Northwest Wisconsin (Workforce Development Area 7)  compared to the state unemployment average

May 2017 Unemployment Rates for the entire state of Wisconsin broken down into the 11 Workforce Development Areas.

May 2017 Unemployment Rates for the entire state of Wisconsin broken down into the 11 Workforce Development Areas.

Every month Thomas Michels, Labor Market Economist from the Office of Economic Advisors - Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, creates a report that provides insight into the unemployment rate for the 10 County region served by the NWWIB, also known as Workforce Development Area 7.

(Numbers not seasonally adjusted)

NW WI: 3.5%
WI: 2.8%
US: 4.1%

Ashland: 3.8%
Bayfield: 4.0%
Burnett: 3.9%
Douglas: 3.7%
Iron: 5.3%
Price: 3.0%
Rusk: 3.4%
Sawyer: 3.7%
Taylor: 2.6%
Washburn: 3.0%


talent needed concept

The On-the-Job Training (OJT) Program under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity enables employers to grow their workforce by receiving a cash reimbursement--not a tax credit--to help offset the costs of bringing on a new employee or when upgrading the skills of a current employee. The Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board and Northwest Wisconsin CEP are focusing their efforts on ensuring that OJT contracts are being used by employers in our region as a training tool. The information at right is for Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act OJT contracts written since July 1, 2016 thru June 8, 2017.

OJT ContractS: 49

Average Hourly Wage: $14.03

Average Reimbursement Rate: $7.01

Average Reimbursement Cost: $2,133.85

Training Hours: 299.32