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Governor Walker talks about job grants, casinos and more at appearance in Wausau

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Governor Scott Walker and Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson appear at NTC in Wausau, November 6, 2013
Governor Scott Walker and Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson appear at NTC in Wausau, November 6, 2013

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- Governor Walker made an appearance in Wausau at Northcentral Technical College today to discuss a new grant project called Wisconsin Fast Forward.

“Workers need to have access to the most up-to-date employment information,” Governor Walker said. “By providing quality worker training and cutting-edge labor market information, our workers will be best equipped to re-enter the workforce in places where opportunities are available.”

The funding will work to create new jobs and training in manufacturing and small manufacturing businesses with 50 or fewer employees, construction, and customer service representatives. Walker says business leaders tell him Wisconsin is a great place to place customer service positions. "It's easy to understand folks in the Midwest. The people in the Midwest he found to be overwhelmingly pleasant and easy to get along with."

The state is looking at continued growth in the customer service industry and Walker says they want to help that grow. "The Department of Workforce Development estimates that through 2020 there's going to be a 15% growth in customer service jobs, and an annual basis, that means 2200 new jobs each year."

During questions after the speech, Governor Walker says he's not in a big hurry to make a decision on the casino project in Kenosha. "This project has been before the Bureau of Indian affairs at the federal government for 20 years. And I've got considerable time as governor to take this matter up and fully consider the implications on it."

Walker also said he'd be in favor of tougher OWI laws if they make it to his desk. "Ways we can toughen up, particularly penalties for repeat drunk drivers is something I've been in the past supportive of. And presumably, I'd have to look at the individual bills, but would be open to consider."

He also addressed the continuing issues with the new federal health care law. Walker says the state is stepping up to make sure residents in need will be covered before the enrollment period is up on the Affordable Care Act. "Under our plan, everyone in poverty will covered. In the past, under my predecessor, there was a wait list for some on poverty, going forward everyone will be covered under Medicaid in the state of Wisconsin." He says state officials are putting together training for insurance agents in Wisconsin in order to help them get people signed up for the exchanges and for insurance before the enrollment period is up.

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