By Ariele Vaccaro
County Executive Chris Abele signed a proclamation for a new program that will offer job training, placement, and educational opportunities to those seeking to advance their careers in Milwaukee.
Through the program, skilled workers that have been unemployed or underemployed.
Abele endorsed the program as a way to combat unemployment in Milwaukee.
“We can do better, and we will,” Abele said on Tuesday.
The initiative, called UpLift MKE, is a collaboration among a number of agencies and partners.
The Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) will coordinate the programming, connecting skilled workers that have been unemployed or underemployed to local employers.
The employers are partners that have agreed to be part of UpLift MKE. The first to join in was the Milwaukee Bucks.
With the new arena will come a number of construction job openings.
The Bucks will be looking to hire workers through UpLift MKE.
It will be pay-for-performance, so funding will not be used or lost for connections, training, or hiring that isn’t done through the program.
MAWIB plans to help unskilled workers to become skilled through another partnership with the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC).
The school will offer training in some of the areas that the employing partners are looking to hire: hospitality, manufacturing, and customized training.
To Earl Buford, President at MAWIB, the program is a win for the County as well as for neighborhoods struck with heavy unemployment and underemployment.
He said that MAWIB has had success helping Milwaukee residents secure their first job, “but what about their second, third, or fourth job?”
“If someone wants a better job, and then our employers have that opportunity, we’re going to make that match as well,” said Buford.
About forty employers have already committed to partnerships in the UpLift MKE program.
Bob Turner is business representative at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 494 (IBEW), which is also a part of UpLift MKE.
He thinks the program will bring economic stability to families who need it by “allowing people that didn’t have the opportunity…. to get these life sustaining, family sustaining careers that they didn’t have before or didn’t know about.”
Among other hiring partners with UpLift MKE are The Pfister Hotel, Froedtert Hospital, and Principal Finance Group.