The Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, Inc. and UMOS will manage the “Transform Milwaukee Jobs Program” under Gov. Scott Walker’s Transform Milwaukee initiative, according to an announcement made by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families on Tuesday.
The jobs program will provide a gateway for unemployed parents and low-income workers to join the workforce. It will also offer job training services and resources to individuals not quite ready to jump into the workforce.
The goal of the program is to “find sustainable, long-term employment for people,” said Joe Scialfa, communications director for the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.
The program will be modelled after the department’s Transitional Jobs Demonstration Project, a workforce initiative that ended last June.
As managing agencies of the “Transform Milwaukee Jobs Program,” MAWIB and UMOS will recruit potential employees, evaluate their skills and match qualified individuals to jobs. Both agencies will work to secure employers to participate in the jobs program.
Participating businesses will be required to employ workers for at least 20 hours a week at the minimum wage. Up to 1,040 hours of employee wages will be covered by subsidies from the Department of Children and Families.
Those subsidies will be paid directly to the employer of record, which in some cases will be the businesses involved. In other cases, a participating business may arrange for MAWIB or UMOS to act as the employer of record, and so subsidies will be funneled to the appropriate agency.
On top of wage subsidies, the Department of Children and Families may compensate employers for specific taxes, unemployment contributions, and worker’s compensation insurance premiums.
The compensation measures ensure that businesses can participate in the jobs program without facing significant risks.
While UMOS will service unemployed adults age 18 and older in the “Transform Milwaukee Jobs Program,” MAWIB will work with individuals age 18 to 21 transitioning out of the foster care system or other child welfare programs.
The agencies will match employees to jobs that are compatible with their skillsets and interests, according to Scialfa.
Following the announcement of the program’s managing agencies, recruitment of businesses is now underway.
“We are hoping to get a wide variety of businesses to participate so that we have a large range of differing job opportunities for participants,” Scialfa said.