The Common Council this week approved creation of the Milwaukee Jobs Act -Transitional Jobs Program – a multifaceted effort to create employment opportunities for city young people and job seekers from areas of the city that have been particularly hard-hit economically.
Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, the primary sponsor of the legislation creating the Milwaukee Jobs Act, said he believes the initiative is a strong “initial step forward” in helping young Milwaukeeans connect with a strong and positive first employment experience, while addressing key neighborhood needs in the city.
“The Jobs Act programs are all intended to improve the physical infrastructure of deteriorating neighborhoods, and to do it with people from the block and from around the corner who will leave the Transitional Jobs program with a whole lot more than money in their pocket and a cleaner, better neighborhood,”Alderman Hamilton said. “They will leave our program with formal training in the professional trades and with access to a career ladder for future employment.”
In the works for nearly a year, the $700,000 program is made possible entirely from a payment to the city connected to the development of the Harley-Davidson Museum. Because of Common Council action, the developer of the museum project agreed to pay the city $700,000 in return for being relieved of the requirement to complete the third phase of the museum project.
Co-sponsors on the Jobs Act legislation were: Alderman Joe Davis, Sr.; Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs; Alderman Willie C. Wade; Alderman Nik Kovac; Alderman Robert J. Bauman; Alderman Willie L. Hines, Jr.; Alderman Tony Zielinski and Alderman Jose G. Perez.
A key element of the program is making the Mayor’s Earn and Learn program a year-round opportunity for city young people. Currently, the Earn and Learn program provides summer intern employment opportunities for young people who learn valuable job skills working in city departments and at local employers.
Mayor Tom Barrett said he believes the Milwaukee Jobs Act can mirror the success of the Earn and Learn program. “I’d like to thank Alderman Hamilton for his leadership and members of the Common Council for their support of this program. This was a unique opportunity to give Milwaukeeans the chance to gain meaningful work experience through these various programs,” he said. The additional allocation of $168,000 for a year-round Mayor’s Earn and Learn program will create opportunities for an additional 87 young people (the program in its current form serves more than 470 young people). The year-round program will be administered by the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board.
The details of the elements of the Jobs Act program are attached, but other parts of the program include:
Mayor’s Earn and Learn Program – $168,000
Common Council’s Neighborhood Ambassador Program – $80,000
Garage Demolition Program – $180,000
Mayor’s Manufacturing Partnership Program – $207,000
Hybrid Deconstruction Pilot Program – $55,000
LEAP Program – $10,000
Alderman Nik Kovac, a cosponsor, said the economic downturn has affected many people throughout Milwaukee, but those impacts “have been most severe in those neighborhoods which had the least amount of economic cushion to start out with.”
“The joblessness and foreclosure crises are happening on the same blocks and in the same neighborhoods,” said Alderman Kovac. “This Jobs Act is the beginning of our attempt to turn two overlapping problems into two overlapping solutions.”
For Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, the Jobs Act is most important because of what it can offer residents. “Each day I speak with residents, the issue I hear the most is the need for more jobs. The passage today of the Milwaukee Jobs Act is a step in the right direction toward getting people employed and assisting them with gaining marketable skills,” Alderwoman Coggs said.
“The 100 percent RPP requirement is a demonstration of how serious we are about putting Milwaukeeans to work,” she said.