City Program Aims to Connect Hundreds of Workers with Construction Jobs

Local Residents Will Have Jobs at Northwestern Mutual Site

On Monday Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett shared details on a new workforce development program aimed at connecting Milwaukee residents with construction jobs at the new Northwestern Mutual building site and at other construction jobs in the community.

Using $500,000 in funds from the Northwestern Mutual Tax Incremental District, the city has engaged the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP/BIG STEP) to lead the training and placement activities.

The Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) will also play a significant role.

City departments and members of the Milwaukee Common Council helped develop the program’s framework.

“There are opportunities for city residents to work at construction jobs in Milwaukee as major projects such as the Northwestern Mutual Tower come out of the ground,” Mayor Barrett said.

“We are dedicating resources to make sure our residents are ready to fill the jobs.”

Northwestern Mutual has embraced the goal of employing city residents during the three years of construction.

The company aims to exceed the requirement that 40% of the construction workforce live in Milwaukee.

A City ordinance requires the 40% of the hours worked on a project receiving direct subsidy will be performed by city residents.

Working in coordination with the contractors, the workforce development program will identify specific jobs that will be in demand on the Northwestern Mutual construction site.

WRTP/BIG STEP will find and train city workers who will be ready to fill 150 jobs at the Northwestern Mutual site and another 200 workers ready to fill jobs at other construction projects.

The workforce development program pays WRTP/ BIG STEP with money from the Northwestern Mutual tax incremental district, and, with the exception of the first $50,000, the funds will go to WRTP/BIG STEP following successful placement of trained city workers on construction jobs.

In the coming weeks, WRTP/BIG STEP will finalize both the project work plan and the project training plan.

The Mayor was joined by Earl Buford, President of CEO of WRTP/BIG STEP and Linda Stewart, COO of MAWIB at Monday’s announcement.

City residents interested in participating in the Workforce Development Program can contact WRTP/BIG STEP at 414-342-WRTP (414- 342-9787).