Earl Buford, President and CEO
Earl Buford is President and CEO of Employ Milwaukee, the largest of eleven workforce boards in the State of Wisconsin. For 20 years, Buford has been bringing together workforce stakeholders locally, regionally, and nationally. Considered a thought leader in workforce development, Buford’s approach to aligning the workforce development system has been recognized on a national level. Under Buford’s leadership, Employ Milwaukee realigned to implement an integrated and sector-based approach, providing direct employer engagement through Industry Advisory Boards. These Boards drive the alignment of strategies and investments to respond to current workforce and labor market demands. By working with leaders in business, economic development, workforce, education and community development, Buford and the Employ Milwaukee team are developing workforce solutions that meet and anticipate regional economic development needs.
Scott Jansen, Executive Vice President
Scott Jansen oversees the operations of Employ Milwaukee. He came to Employ Milwaukee in January 2017 from the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). He served as the Administrator of the Division of Employment & Training at DWD since August of 2013, working to build an educated and skilled workforce across Wisconsin through impactful programming and intentional partnerships. Prior to that, he was the first DWD Office of Skills Development Director, where he designed and implemented the Wisconsin Fast Forward Initiative. Jansen joined DWD after two years as the Talent Dividend Director for the Greater Milwaukee Committee. Prior to that, he spent 28 years with AT&T and retired as regional vice president of external affairs.
Peter Coffaro, Chief Program Officer
Peter Coffaro has more than 20 years of experience in program administration, contract procurement, budget analysis and private sector employer engagement. As Employ Milwaukee works to build a demand driven, employer led, sector focused workforce development model, Coffaro directs programming staff to plan, develop, implement and evaluate programs in compliance with the requirements of funders, the needs of program participants, and the needs of employers. Additionally, Coffaro provides leadership and advocacy to enhance innovation and participation in issues related to economic and workforce development. Prior to joining Employ Milwaukee in 2015, Coffaro came from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District where he oversaw District contracting and worked to align procurement opportunities with social responsibility policies, such as diverse business participation and local workforce goals.
Willie Wade, Chief Marketing Officer
Willie Wade serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Employ Milwaukee. In his role, he connects stakeholders at all levels to workforce opportunity. Working closely with elected officials, government agencies, businesses, companies, job seekers, community organizations, faith-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, education partners, developers, chambers of commerce, and economic development organizations. Willie Wade is a champion of workforce innovation and job creation throughout the Milwaukee County area. He oversees the Coordinating Council, a 33-member group of training and social service providers, ensuring workforce efficiency and access to workforce resources.
Prior to Employ Milwaukee, Willie Wade served 13 years (over four terms) as the 7th District Alderman for the City of Milwaukee. While a member of Milwaukee’s Common Council, he served on 15 different boards and committees, where he could have the greatest impact on Milwaukee’s economic growth, quality of life issues and the opportunity to improve all neighborhoods.
Patti Porth, Chief Financial Officer (CFO)
Patti Porth has more than 25 years of experience in accounting, auditing, and grants management. As Employ Milwaukee’s Chief Financial Officer for nearly 20 years, she is responsible for cash management of over $20 million of annual revenue as well as overseeing administrative functions such as invoicing, expenditure and closeout reporting to grantors, budgets and modifications, fiscal monitoring, payroll, facilities management, audit preparation, and business intelligence services. Porth also serves as staff support for the Board’s Personnel & Finance Committee.