Building a Better Career
Delorean J. had been working for over 5 years as a Lab Technician, when the company he worked for closed. While he enjoyed his job, he admittedly found it monotonous and offered few-to-no opportunities for advancement. During the Spring of 2023 after hearing about the TradeSmart MC3 training program offered at WRTP/BIG STEP, he enrolled in this nationally recognized, multi craft construction course to pivot into a career within skilled trades. Employ Milwaukee’s Skillful Transitions program paid for Delorean’s TradeSmart training which also included a $15/hr. stipend for hours spent in the classroom.
Delorean successfully completed his training, and the WAI grant funded a Paid Work Experience (for up to 29 hrs./week) so he had a paid, hands-on learning experience on a construction site. After about four months, Gilbane Construction brought Delorean on full-time through one of its contractors, CornerStone One.
Delorean now looks forward to starting an apprenticeship as a Plumber. While currently working on the Wisconsin Center expansion project in downtown Milwaukee, the next project he hopes to be a part of is the Northwestern Mutual North Office Building Modernization Project in 2024.
When asked what makes the Gilbane Construction partnership with Employ Milwaukee a success, James Methu, Gilbane’s Economic Inclusion & Community Affairs Specialist said, “The MC3 credentialed training through WRTP/BIG STEP was really key for our contractors to have confidence that the people they were bringing on had the skills they needed. And, overall, the City of Milwaukee’s Residents Preference Program (RPP) helped our contractors find the RPP-certified residents they needed to work on this project. It was a win all around for Milwaukee workers and businesses.” [Contractors bidding on public works projects financed with tax dollars, must hire a percentage of RPP-certified City of Milwaukee residents to work on those projects.]
“When I started the MC3 training, I immediately knew that a career in the trades was for me”, Delorean said. “I was a little nervous when I first got on this huge construction site, but Gilbane and CornerStone One have great communication, are really well organized, and they paired me up with experienced tradespeople that I could continue to learn so much from. When this project is done, I can’t wait to bring my kids here and show them what I helped build.”
Employ Milwaukee’s Skillful Transitions (Worker Advancement Initiative) program offers skills training and paid work experience, thanks to a grant facilitated by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and supported by the American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (ARPA).