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TechForce partners put up more than a building

It took a remarkable partnership to turn an old, underused building into the Milwaukee TechForce Training Center — a modern space where Milwaukee-area residents can receive the training they need for today’s jobs.

The project got its start when the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee received a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Capital Fund Education and Training Grant. Warren Jones, director of development at the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, said the city had been looking for a site for a tech-training center.

They found it in a building that had originally opened in 1925 as the St. Francis Social Center. Space on the two-story building’s first floor was rented out to the Adult Learning Center, which provides GED prep classes.

“It seemed like such a great fit — putting a program in there to teach them the technology skills people would need to be successful in today’s job market,” Jones said. “The whole second floor was being used as storage. There was a lot of potential.”

To make it work, the building received a new entrance, adding 2,216 square feet of space. Upstairs, three rooms from the original building were remodeled to form two classrooms, two teacher offices and communal space.

“The revitalization successfully melded the original early 20th century building with contemporary, high-tech new construction,” Jones said.

The building makes use of insulated glass to let in daylight and of glass partitions to ensure natural light finds its way into classrooms, said Mike Long, president of West Allis-based Triad Construction, the general contractor on the project.

“It is a very unique building,” he said. “The new part of the building flows well into the old part of the building. It also brought the building closer to the street, which is important in an urban setting so you know it’s there. Before, it was not as easy to see.”

“This project was a win-win-win,” Long added. “The church wins by getting an updated building with solid tenants, the Adult Learning Center gets additional space and can better help its clients by exposing them to the new technology training offered, and community members benefit by having access to this training, which will better train them for available jobs.”


Milwaukee TechForce Training Center
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Project size: 5,016 Square feet
Project cost: $1,120,000
Start date: August 2015
Completion date: May 2016
Nominator: Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee
General Contractor: Triad Construction
Architect: Quorum Architects Inc.
Engineering Company: Ellis Engineering
Owner: Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee

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