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Project Milwaukee: In-depth reporting on vital issues in the region.

Investigating the Employment Gap in Milwaukee's Inner City

Corydalus, Flickr

This week's Project Milwaukee: Help Wanted series has been looking at the so-called skills gap in Wisconsin - the divide between unemployed and underemployed workers and the jobs that exist but go unfilled.

Nowhere in Wisconsin is the employment issue greater than in Milwaukee's Central City, where the number of employed residents dropped by half between 1970 and 2000, and where unemployment rates currently dwarf those found in the surrounding areas. It's an issue that UW-Milwaukee's Center for Economic Development has tracked closely.

"In the recent period, I think we're lacking a lot of evidence that there really is any kind of a "skills gap" that can explain some of the employment difficulties that we have." - Marc Levine, Center for Economic Development at UW-Milwaukee

Marc Levine is senior fellow and founding director of the Center. He's the author of a forthcoming report on the skills gap as it's manifested in Milwaukee's Central City. Levine tells Mitch Teich he believes some key issues have been missing from the prevailing conversation about the skills gap in the public arena.