Earn & Learn Provides Young Individuals with Job Skills, Work Experience

Mayor Tom Barrett opened the application process for the 2016 Earn & Learn initiative, a summer youth employment program that assists young people from Milwaukee in making a successful transition from adolescence into adulthood through job skills and work experience.

Under the leadership of Mayor Barrett, Earn & Learn has placed more than 25,000 students in summer jobs since its inception.

“The City is transformed in the summer because many of our young people are working at summer jobs,” Mayor Barrett said. “By introducing young people to the world of work, we are creating hope and opportunity in the lives of Milwaukee’s youth.”

“Everyone remembers their first job and the positive mark that experience left on them,” said Mayor Barrett as he went on to discuss his experience as an usher at County Stadium, Ms. Williams’ summer job delivering newspapers, Mr. Wade’s first job with “Commandos Project #1” where he cleaned up neighborhood streets, and Mr. Shields’ experience as a bellman.

Since 2005, nearly $25 million has been raised to employ Earn & Learn teens in Milwaukee. Supporters of the initiative include Manpower Group, Bader Philanthropies, JPMorgan Chase and many more.

“JP Morgan Chase is very proud to partner with the City of Milwaukee and Mayor Barrett in the Earn & Learn program,” said Michelle Williams, Mortgage Banking Executive, JPMorgan Chase. “I would encourage the business community to consider how they can help our young people and ultimately, make sure that we have those educated, ambitious and talented individuals coming to us and working in our companies within this community.”

Earn & Learn is operated jointly by Employ Milwaukee and the Department of City Development (DCD), and collaborates with local business, non-profit, and community- and faith-based organizations.

“Employ Milwaukee is proud to continue our efforts in providing summer employment to Milwaukee’s youth to help them grow professionally and achieve their career goals,” said Willie Wade, Vice President of Community Affairs, Employ Milwaukee. “We look forward to creating the workforce of the future.”

Approximately 1,000 positions with community-based organizations are available this summer and hundreds more are in other parts of Earn & Learn.

In 2004, Mayor Barrett sought funding to support a summer jobs program. In 2005, the first aspect of Earn & Learn, the Summer Youth Internship Program (SYIP), was officially launched. Supported with State and Community Development Block Grant funding, SYIP gives youth interns between the ages of 16-19 years old work assignments in over a dozen City of Milwaukee departments and bureaus.

SYIP participants receive a subsidized wage rate of $7.50 per hour for 20 hours each week for a maximum of 160 hours during the summer work cycle.

In 2007, Employ Milwaukee began another aspect of Earn & Learn known as Community Work Experience (CWE). It has become the best “first job” opportunity for many disenfranchised youth that need the work experience to get a head start on the road to joining Milwaukee’s workforce.

CWE provides youth employed through Earn & Learn between the ages of 14-24 years old with a seven-week work experience at a local community organization that will cover the processing of their applications and work permits, a subsidized wage rate of $7.50 per hour for 20 hours each week, and work-readiness skill development and training.

“On behalf of the agencies and organizations that make up United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee, we’d like to thank Mayor Tom Barrett and all of the partners throughout Milwaukee for supporting the Earn & Learn program,” said Tony Shields, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee. “Summer youth employment is beneficial to the community because our youth are employed in jobs that help them grow as individuals and become role models within their communities.”

In 2008, Mayor Barrett began another area of youth job development through his Private Sector Job Connection (PSJC) in partnership with Milwaukee area businesses, broadening the work opportunities to include jobs for teens at least 18 years old in the private sector.