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Milwaukee to lead new regional workforce development group

Milwaukee will be among a dozen Midwest communities joining forces to set up a first-of-its-kind regional workforce-development board.

Mayor Tom Barrett was joined by a number of workforce leaders across the Midweston Friday in signing an agreement to establish the Midwest Urban Strategies Consortium. Officials signed the new agreement at the office of Bader Philanthropies, 233 N. Water St.

Employ Milwaukee, the city’s workforce-investment board, is taking the administrative lead with the new group, whose goals will include devising a regional strategy for building a skilled workforce. Recruiting more people into apprenticeships will also be a priority, according to a news release.

“Milwaukee continually demonstrates innovative workforce development,” Barrett said in a statement. “I’m incredibly proud we are leading this newly created regional consortium. This will provide a tremendous opportunity for all of our urban partners to learn from each other and share ideas.”

The agreement signed on Friday lays out both the group’s mission and the members’ responsibilities to both employers and job-seekers.

The other cities involved in the group are Chicago; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Gary, Ind.; Indianapolis; Kansas City, Mo.; Minneapolis; St. Louis, Mo.; and Wichita, Ks.

“All of our cities share similar challenges,” Earl Buford, president and chief executive of Employ Milwaukee, said in a statement. “By creating this partnership, we are stronger together than we are apart.”

The U.S. Department of Labor is also involved in the endeavor, and has provided money for three of the consortium’s initiatives.

Bader Philanthropies is also providing support by helping build up Employ Milwaukee’s ability to administer and raise money for the new group.

About Alex Zank, alex.zank@dailyreporter.com

Alex Zank is a construction reporter for The Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 414-225-1820.

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