MILWAUKEE – In a move that will provide opportunity, training, support, and access to permanent jobs for residents of Milwaukee’s poorest neighborhoods, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) are today announcing their partnership on a new initiative that will spread the economic benefits of Milwaukee’s construction boom throughout the city. The program, called UpLift MKE, will use Milwaukee County money to fund an innovative jobs development model that will offer workers the chance to build a career by providing opportunities and removing traditional barriers to successful employment.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, MAWIB Executive Earl Buford, MATC President Dr. Vicki Martin, Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin, and other partners will announce the creation of UpLift MKE at the 6th Street Cafe, Room M175, on the MATC campus today, September 15th, at 2:15PM.
“From the Park East to the Couture to Northwestern Mutual, I’m proud that Milwaukee is experiencing a genuine construction and job opportunities boom,” County Executive Abele said. “I’m even prouder that UpLift MKE will help ensure the benefits of this boom spread throughout all of Milwaukee’s neighborhoods.”
Milwaukee County is seeding the program with $400,000 from land proceeds. This money will be used to fund a “sector-based intermediary approach,” wherein a Coordinating Agency connects employers with well-trained job candidates, administers program funds, and tracks data to measure effectiveness. MAWIB will serve as the Coordinating Agency, working with employers, trainers, and community organizations to match job candidates with targeted training and available opportunities.
The Milwaukee Bucks are the first employer to sign on to UpLift MKE. As part of their participation, the Bucks will share job projections, advertise open positions with MAWIB, and will interview all trained and qualified MAWIB job candidates. The Bucks will utilize this approach for all end use jobs that are contained in the new arena.
“We’re proud to be a part of this partnership with Milwaukee County to help create jobs and opportunity across our community,” said Bucks President Peter Feigin. “This program will help ensure our collective effort to revitalize Milwaukee has a lasting impact.”
To maximize the benefits provided to Milwaukee’s most disadvantaged residents, UpLift MKE will utilize a Pay for Performance model of employment recruitment. Bonus funds are provided to the Coordinating Agency when it successfully places individuals who reside in those zipcodes that have the highest unemployment rates. Milwaukee’s most disadvantaged zipcode, 53206, has an official unemployment rate of more than 30 percent.
“We’re not just offering a job, we’re offering a career path and the support that’s needed to move up the ladder,” Abele said. “UpLift MKE utilizes an innovative approach that focuses on long-term success for those who stand to benefit the most.”
UpLift MKE will use a variety of tools to assist job seekers and benefit the community. Throughout their employment period, UpLift MKE will provide support for job candidates, guiding them through the process, holding them accountable, and assisting with related challenges, like transportation. UpLift MKE will also place a special focus on parents who owe child support, offering fathers and mothers who want to do right by their children the opportunity to improve their economic security. Lauded by employers, the UpLift MKE design spreads the benefits of economic development to those in need without reducing the financial viability of new construction projects.
“As the Bucks build their new arena, we will be building Milwaukee County’s workforce. Recruiting, training and preparing workers for this project will be a targeted initiative in high growth industry sectors, including retail, hospitality, financial services, manufacturing and healthcare,” said Earl Buford, President and CEO, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board. “We have developed a collaborative, data driven, and incentive-based system to ensure needed workers will be available.”
Milwaukee County will work with the MPS, MATC, the City of Milwaukee, and others to secure additional funding for UpLift MKE, which will be used to add future employers to the program. Approval for the County’s $400,000 seed money will appear in front of the County Board’s Economic and Community Development Committee on October