Earl Buford leaving Employ Milwaukee to lead Pittsburgh workforce development board

Has led Milwaukee County workforce development board since 2014

Peter Coffaro, Earl Buford and Willie Wade of Employ Milwaukee.

Earl Buford, president and chief executive officer of Milwaukee County workforce development board Employ Milwaukee, is leaving his post for a similar role at a Pittsburgh workforce organization.

Peter Coffaro, Earl Buford and Willie Wade of Employ Milwaukee.

Buford announced Thursday in an email to colleagues he has accepted the position of CEO of Pittsburgh-based Partner4Work,

He has led Employ Milwaukee since July 2014.

“I’m proud of the success we’ve had and the progress we’ve made on workforce development efforts in the Milwaukee area,” Buford said in the email. “Together, we have laid the groundwork for years to come.”

During his tenure, Buford helped spearhead the new Midwest Urban Strategies Consortium, a partnership of workforce investment boards from 12 major Midwestern cities, aimed at addressing workforce issues through collaboration and sharing best practices.

Buford highlighted other accomplishments from his time, including helping develop Compete Milwaukee — an initiative launched in 2014 to provide unemployed city residents with temporary work, job readiness training and career counseling — and diversifying Employ Milwaukee’s funding base.

He will stay on with Employ Milwaukee through June.  A search for his replacement will begin next week, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s office said.

“Buford is a great local success story of homegrown Milwaukee talent having received primary, secondary and post-secondary education in Milwaukee and working his way through the ranks of Milwaukee-based organizations,” Barrett said.

“I wish Earl all the best of luck in his new endeavor,” Barrett added. “I know he’ll do very well.”

Prior to Employ Milwaukee, Buford led Milwaukee-based nonprofit workforce organization WRTP/BIG STEP as CEO for 15 years.

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