Midwest Urban Strategies is a groundbreaking initiative and the first of its kind in the country, created as a regional mechanism to drive economic growth. Midwest Urban Strategies represents a coordinated effort on behalf of 12 U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Region 5 urban Workforce Development Boards (WDB) in the Midwest to bolster regional planning through systematic approaches in attracting and retaining businesses and talent. Together, these cities and boards share and apply best practices in workforce development and integrate efforts and resources to fully maximize federal, state and local funds and initiatives to build a competitive regional workforce system aimed at revitalizing the Midwest economy.
In July 2017, workforce leaders from member WDBs across the Midwest, along with representatives from the U.S. DOL, convened in Milwaukee to sign an agreement creating the Midwest Urban Strategies Consortium. Employ Milwaukee is the administrative lead and works in partnership with workforce boards in the following cities: Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Gary, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; Kansas City, Missouri; Minneapolis, Minnesota; St. Louis, Missouri; and Wichita, Kansas. Through intentional industry engagement that puts business in the driver’s seat and connects employers to a well-prepared supply of workers, Midwest Urban Strategies can improve effectiveness and efficiency regionally and locally, making the Midwest a major player within the national economy.
Compete Midwest, the program arm of the Midwest Urban Strategies Consortium, secured three grants from the U.S. Department of Labor: the American Apprenticeship Initiative, TechHire Program, and America’s Promise. We work with our workforce partners in St. Louis, Missouri and Detroit, Michigan to address the needs of businesses through the American Apprenticeship Initiative. A new apprenticeship program, the Pharmacy Technician Registered Apprenticeship, has been created and is formally registered with the U.S. Office of Apprenticeship. This Registered Apprenticeship track was developed by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development in collaboration with Employ Milwaukee and our employer partner CVS Health.
We eagerly launched the highly anticipated TechHire Program to address the demand for skilled IT workers. To date, 42 individuals have participated in CompTIA A+ certification training for entry level careers as Computer User Support Specialists. Through TechHire, Employ Milwaukee offers a flexible training model, providing cohort-based training and other services available through WIOA, such as Career Planning and supportive services. Innovative support for business, including On-the-Job Training, paid internships, specialized services to incumbent workers, provide businesses with solutions to meet their unique IT talent needs.
America’s Promise addresses worker shortages in 14 high-growth occupations within four targeted H1-B Industries: Advanced Manufacturing, Information Technology, Finance and Health Care. America’s Promise will serve seven urban epicenters in the Midwest through each city’s workforce development board (WDB) providing business outreach, training and placement activities.