Governor Tony Evers today joined members of the International Union of Painters (IUPAT), mayors from around the state, Wisconsin Conservation Voters, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, and the BlueGreen Alliance for a tour of the IUPAT training facility in Fitchburg, WI. The event focused on maximizing the impact of investments in two historic federal laws—the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act—for all Wisconsinites.
The group, which included the mayors of Green Bay, Madison, Appleton, Racine, and Sheboygan, and the Eau Claire City Manager/Engineer, launched the event with a press conference. Participants discussed how to harness these federal investments to create good-paying, union jobs across the state.
“This is a great opportunity to connect with local officials, environmental advocates, and labor partners, among other key stakeholders, to discuss and collaborate on how we can best make use of federal resources coming to our state to help us meet our clean energy and workforce needs and goals,” said Gov. Evers. “Whether it’s building infrastructure of the 21st century, investing in emerging technology like EVs, using sustainable practices in industries like construction and manufacturing, or creating new opportunities in emerging clean energy sectors like solar, this influx of federal funds will play an essential role in our administration’s critical work.”
“As we start seeing the historic funding from the BIL and Inflation Reduction Act roll out, our IUPAT brothers and sisters are ready to get to work,” IUPAT General President Jimmy Williams Jr. “We are proud to highlight the programs we offer at our training facility. The apprentices that we’re training in Fitchburg are learning from the best, and will come out with the skills they need to build a successful career.”
Following the press conference, the group toured the IUPAT training facility and convened a roundtable discussion with representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin Department of Transportation, and the Public Service Commission, agencies which will oversee the implementation of many BIL and Inflation Reduction Act funded programs.
“It’s no secret that Wisconsin’s infrastructure needs improvement, but now we have the opportunity to fix it, and to do it right,” said Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway. “The American Society of Civil Engineers gave our state a C in its latest report card, and I think the rest of the Mayors here today will agree with me that average is just not good enough for our cities, it’s up to us now to raise that grade.”
“To maximize the benefits of the BIL and Inflation Reduction Act we have to make sure that the jobs we’re creating are good-paying, union jobs,” said Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich. “Strong labor standards aren’t just good for workers though. Union workers are highly trained and can be relied upon to produce the best outcomes on projects.”
“It is exciting to see the kind of impactful education taking place here at the IUPAT training facility,” said Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford. “When these apprentices finish their programs and head into the field they will be ready to build good-paying careers with benefits for themselves, and the quality facilities and infrastructure we all rely on.”
“The funding in the BIL and Inflation Reduction Act has the potential to have a huge impact on Sheboygan,” said Sheboygan Mayor Ryan Sorenson. “Studies estimate Lake Michigan’s water level will increase significantly in coming years due to climate change, and we are already seeing coastal erosion. It is imperative to my city’s tourism industry that we do all we can to fight climate change. At the same time, this funding presents a huge opportunity to create good, union jobs in my community.”
“It is so important that as we’re navigating this new federal pool of investment we’re having important conversations like this one,” said Racine Mayor Cory Mason. “Getting all of these stakeholders and decision-makers in one room to talk about how to seize this moment is step one. These conversations need to continue and I look forward to being a part of them.”
“The Inflation Reduction Act and BIL are true win-wins,” said Eau Claire Deputy City Manager Dave Solberg. “If we do this right we can create good, union jobs across the state, protect our environment, rebuild and modernize our infrastructure, and fight climate change.”
“The impacts of climate change are visible across the state,” said Wisconsin Conservation Voters Organizing Director Casey Hicks. “From the shores of Lake Michigan and Superior to our forests and farmland, it’s undeniable that climate change is hitting home. The BIL and Inflation Reduction Act will set us on a path to a clean economy that works for all Wisconsinites.”
“We are at an exciting, important time in the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act and BIL,” said BlueGreen Alliance Wisconsin Policy Organizer Carly Ebben Eaton. “The decisions made now in statehouses and by local governments will determine just how impactful these investments will be. We’re excited to be a part of these important discussions as state and local leaders hit the ground running to translate this legislation into real benefits for their communities.”