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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett Proposes $14 Million In COVID Relief Funds For Jobs Programs

Female black student working on computer in classroom
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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says much of the focus would be on training for lead abatement certification, IT and green energy jobs in the Century City business park on the city’s north side.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is proposing spending nearly $14 million in federal funds on job readiness and employment opportunities. It’s part of nearly $400 million in American Rescue Plan funding the city will receive as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barrett announced the proposed $14 million allocation Monday, saying it would link unemployed and low wage workers with family supporting jobs.

“We know that too many residents of Milwaukee are not connected to jobs that pay well or have opportunities for advancement. With the Milwaukee Recovery and Repair Act, I propose a range of investments that prepares workers and connects them to jobs and careers. These efforts are important for our residents, and they are very important for Milwaukee’s economy,” he said.

Barrett said the job training and opportunities would be geared toward 19 to 29-year-olds. He said much of the focus would be on training for lead abatement certification, IT and green energy jobs in the Century City business park on the city’s north side.

The city is partnering with the nonprofit group Employ Milwaukee to get the initiative off the ground. CEO Chytania Brown believes the amount of federal COVID money put toward workforce development will be impactful.

“Wages to trainees, job seekers and other workers will go directly back into the community, building wealth in our neighborhoods that have been disproportionately affected. Skilled training programs in IT, financial services and other high-demand industries that provide real onramps to individuals looking to compete in the global job market,” Brown said.

Monday’s development comes a day after Barrett announced using $30 million of COVID relief funding for housing initiatives. Barrett said all allocations of the federal money must be approved by the Milwaukee Common Council. It’s expected to take up the proposals in the next few weeks.

Barrett said he’ll announce plans to direct money for “safety, public health and early childhood” initiatives in the coming days.

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