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Author: Wisconsin Watch

A Mismatched Workforce: Wisconsin’s jobless struggle to find lost jobs after COVID-19

Ideally, the 65-year-old would return to her old job of digitizing government documents for Data Dimensions in Janesville, Wisconsin. But she can’t. The company laid her off in March 2020, temporarily at first, when COVID-19 struck. The layoff became permanent last summer after the company lost a government contract and cut more than 100 employees. As the state requires, Miller since May has conducted at least four weekly “work search actions” to keep receiving the state’s maximum for unemployment benefits: $370 per week plus whatever the federal government kicks in, which has varied throughout the pandemic. She would search...

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A legacy of redlining and racial covenants still keep families of color from owning homes in Wisconsin

To Greg Lewis, the home was beautiful. Cozy and inviting, it was a two-bedroom house in Milwaukee with a finished basement, two and a half car garage, an attached apartment and a yard. He had his eyes set on it for 42 days, only to learn that the appraisal, or valuation of the property, was lower than he expected. Lewis thought it was going to be about $100,000, as another house on the same block sold for $130,000. Yet the appraisal only came in at $90,000 — meaning banks would be limited in how much they could lend him...

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Controversial Wisconsin golf course faces setback after ancient human remains found at proposed site

Archeologists have unearthed human remains of Native Americans who lived up to 2,500 years ago during excavations of the Sheboygan County site along Lake Michigan where Kohler Co. wants to build an 18-hole golf course. A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee team in 2018 and 2019 inadvertently encountered fragments of human bone and teeth from at least seven locations beneath the privately-owned wetlands and forest where Kohler Co. envisions its third championship facility in Wisconsin, according to documents obtained by Wisconsin Watch. The disturbance came while recovering tens of thousands of ceramics, tools and other artifacts at the 247-acre site during...

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A Lingering Stigma: Wisconsinites face struggles to find meaningful employment after a conviction

People of color in Wisconsin have higher incarceration rates than whites, which means many jobs and opportunities remain out of reach for them. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Janie Ocejo put her social work education and bilingual, bicultural background to work by supporting Madison’s Hispanic folks through positions at various community organizations. But a series of bad decisions landed Ocejo in prison. While there, she expected to find work once she was released. After all, she had a college education, work experience, strong interview skills and had even previously been on hiring teams. However, rebuilding her life...

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Stifling free speech: Blacks targeted with curfew tickets in wake of Wisconsin’s racial justice protests

The envelope looked like any other that arrived in the mail, but Jared Cain said he felt violated after looking inside. He saw a ticket for breaking the curfew Milwaukee adopted to regulate protests after a May 25 murder in Minneapolis seen around the world: When police officer Derek Chauvin knelt for more than 9 minutes on the neck of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man. Cain did not interact with Milwaukee police during local protests the night of May 31 and early morning June 1, but police cited a video he streamed on Facebook as proof that he...

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The color of education: Black students in Wisconsin face uncertainty over how to pay for college

When Clint Myrick graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2010, he left with two consequential pieces of paper: a diploma for a bachelor’s degree in music education — and an eye-popping student loan bill. The Milwaukee native was one of the first in his family to attend college, and Myrick said he entered with little knowledge of how to pay for it. “I was totally unprepared,” Myrick said. “I didn’t know how much it cost … I kind of had to figure out everything on my own.” Myrick held a number of jobs during college to help pay...

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