Willie Wade, President and CEO
Willie Wade 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.
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.
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.
Robert Cherry, Chief Fund Development Officer
Robert Cherry is dedicated to improving the lives of residents across the Milwaukee community. Throughout his 15-year career, he has passionately championed workforce development, public health, and policy development with direct involvement in efforts that have dramatically reduced poverty in Wisconsin.
In his current position as, Chief Fund Development Officer for Employ Milwaukee, Cherry develops strategic initiatives, engaging workforce partners, to connect residents across southeastern Wisconsin to workforce resources and services. His highly successful team secures funding from the federal and state levels of government, along with private foundations to implement innovative programming.
Previously, Cherry served as Director of Youth Programs for Employ Milwaukee. His energy and hard work have strengthened and grown youth employment and training in the Milwaukee area. In his previous position as Director of the Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, Cherry consistently maximized grant funds and extended budgets using exceptional budget forecasting capabilities. Under Cherry’s leadership, the Public Policy Institute increased its funding for Community Advocates by 85 percent, through close work with stakeholders and state government connections.
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.
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.