Employ Milwaukee’s Skillfull Transitions program awarded $5.3 million in ARPA funding

Employ Milwaukee Inc. was awarded a $5.3 million grant from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to launch an initiative aimed at connecting traditionally underserved groups to jobs. 

The grant will support the Milwaukee workforce development board’s new Skillful Transitions program, which is expected to serve 500 participants. 

The program will provide individualized assessment of skills, experience and job readiness, and will be coupled with the organization’s CareerWork$ job readiness training and paid work experience program. 

Through Skillful Transitions, Employ Milwaukee staff will conduct targeted outreach to justice-involved individuals, veterans, homeless individuals, individuals with limited English language proficiency, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals and human trafficking survivors.

The program will partner with work site host locations in construction, hospitality, health care, financial services, manufacturing, information technology and transportation/logistics industries. 

The grant was announced Monday by Gov. Tony Evers as part of the DWD’s $20 million Worker Advancement Initiative, which is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. The initiative, announced earlier this year, is designed to provide subsidized employment and skills training to Wisconsinites whose previous employment has not come back since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those who were not involved in the labor market prior to the pandemic. 

The DWD program is being administered by local workforce development boards in partnership with community-based organizations. The grant awards will cover the programs for two years. 

Other grant recipients in the region include the Southeastern Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, which received $487,464 to train about 150 participants through its CNC machinist training program.

Participants will train in small cohorts through Gateway Technical College’s iMet Center and receive a stipend.

The Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington Workforce Development Board was awarded $1.2 million in grant funding to offer traditional career services and supportive services in conjunction with incentivized paid work experiences or on-the-job training programs. The grant will allow the WOW workforce development board to serve 120 participants.

“We’re working hard to make sure Wisconsin rebounds and recovers from the pandemic, but we know part of that work is ensuring workers, families, and communities are bouncing back with us,” Evers said. “Whether through job training or providing quality child care, affordable housing, or accessible transportation, our workforce innovation funds will support folks working to overcome challenges specific to their community and their family and help get workers back in the workforce so we can ensure our state’s economic recovery.” 

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