Gov. Tony Evers announced more than $1 million in federal funding Tuesday for existing and new summer youth programming and job training opportunities in Milwaukee in collaboration with a variety of Milwaukee organizations.
Employ Milwaukee, the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Library (MPL), and Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) will all receive funds in an effort to enhance community safety in Milwaukee by ensuring youth are meaningfully engaged, making connections with mentors, and positively contributing to their communities.
“Our young people are the future of our workforce and our state, and each one brings unique perspectives and potential to everything they do,” said Gov. Evers in a statement. “Especially during a time when we are seeing a concerning increase of violence in the community, these programs will help develop this homegrown talent with paid opportunities that will help keep young people safe and engaged throughout the summer months in constructive and educational programming and mentorship.”
The investment includes $500,000 for a pilot project led by Employ Milwaukee, in partnership with the city of Milwaukee and MPS to establish an “earn-and-learn” model for 10- to 15-year-olds based on a concept recommended by the Voices of the Elders (VOTE), who have a mission to connect Black kids with skills and resources to improve community outcomes. The program is designed to provide proactive, early support through work-based learning and enrichment activities and mentorship. MPS is providing $200,000 to cover transportation and other supports for the youth participants.
“We are investing in the future of young people, setting a course that includes opportunity and responsibility,” said Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson. “By joining this partnership, Governor Evers is, again, demonstrating a commitment to the young people of Milwaukee by adding stability and hope to the lives of the participants.”
Additionally, the investment includes $135,224 in supplemental funding to provide competitive wages for full enrollment in a successful program operated by Employ Milwaukee in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club, according to a press release. This year, the program will serve 225 youth including “lead” youth workers. The governor is also allocating $400,000 to the MPL’s Connected Learning for Teens program which provides a space for teens outside of school to engage in reading, creative development, and other learning activities.