Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:35 pm
United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS) will move its Milwaukee Job Center South from leased space at 910 W. Mitchell St. to its new headquarters at 2701 S. Chase Ave. by late spring 2006. UMOS currently rents 46,700 square feet in several buildings on Mitchell Street for the job training center. It will move the center into about 35,000 square feet of space in the UMOS headquarters building.
The move will consolidate all of the nonprofit organization’s operations into the new headquarters. Administration and some other functions for UMOS were moved to the 120,000-square-foot facility last fall.
The building is a former Kmart store.
UMOS paid about $2.7 million for the building and spent about $2.4 million on renovations. The job center renovations are projected to cost about $1.6 million to $1.8 million, although plans are still preliminary.
The move is also projected to save UMOS more than $300,000 per year in rent, since the agency owns the Chase Avenue building.
The agency had been working for 15 years to find the proper location to build a new headquarters building or an existing building it could convert to a headquarters facility, said Lupe Martinez, UMOS president and chief executive officer.
"We were cautious moving forward to make sure all of the bases were covered," he said. "We explored many sites."
The former Kmart building was an ideal location for UMOS because the agency has been able to design the interior of the facility to meet its needs, Martinez said. Areas that used to hold shelving, dressing rooms and cashier’s aisles have been converted to offices, meeting rooms and will soon house job training facilities.
"Buildings like this have the structure where we can build out what we want," Martinez said. "And we can build it in phases."
Because of the flexible nature of the building and the large size of its parcel, Martinez said UMOS will easily be able to add onto the structure if it needs additional room.
Having UMOS’ job center relocated to its corporate headquarters will not only make its operations more efficient, it will make conditions safer for users and employees, said Martinez and Tina Koehn, vice president of administration.
Currently, three different buildings house the job center’s programs. Those buildings are all located along West Mitchell Street, but are on opposite sides of the street, and parking is a problem.
UMOS’ corporate headquarters has about 750 parking spaces.
The biggest component of the job training program is the W-2 program – involving case management, job training and help finding jobs. UMOS also runs the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) program, funded by the Private Industry Council, which helps people find jobs and job training. In addition, UMOS runs many food stamp, medical assistance and child care programs through the job center – as well as job seeker and employer assistance programs.
Because Wisconsin is reducing its funding to W-2 this year, Koehn said the move to a more efficient site will help UMOS maximize its budget.
"W-2 will be shortening its budget by about 25 percent next year," she said. "We can back-fill some of the gaps like case management, transportation and training."
Also, less security will be required with the move because the job center will be in one building instead of three, Koehn said.
The job center space will include six classrooms with sliding walls. The classroom space will be a total of 6,000 square feet and will be able to accommodate up to 400 people for meetings, conferences or large classes. Milwaukee Area Technical College has already committed to holding some evening classes there, and UMOS will be telling companies and area employers about the available meeting space, said Rod Ritcherson, special assistant to the president with UMOS.
BMR Design Group of Milwaukee
is working on interior plans for the
The Wisconsin Division of Motor Vehicles will open a new bilingual customer service center in another part of the UMOS building on Chase Avenue.
"By the end of 2006, we think that the building will be fully leased and utilized," he said.
– September 16, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI