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Skillful Transitions

(Worker Advancement Initiative – WAI) Program 

Employ Milwaukee Inc.’s (EMI) Skillful Transitions Program is an initiative to assist people whose previous employment has not come back post-pandemic, as well as those who were not working, or had an uneven work history, prior to the pandemic.  The Skillful Transitions program offers opportunities to individuals for paid work experiences with local employers, and/or skills training for high-demand jobs.  It’s also intended to help businesses who lost a part of their workforce due to the pandemic and faced economic hardship, or those who are looking to grow their current workforce. 

Businesses, Non-Profits or Training Providers

The Skillful Transitions Program can fund job training, including hard or soft skills training; apprenticeship training; occupational or skills classroom training; paid work experiences (subsidized employment) for unemployed and part-time worker participants, On-The-Job Training for new hires, or Incumbent Worker Training for upskilling current workers. 

For some businesses, a “paid work experience” may be a good option.  With this option, Employ Milwaukee serves as the Employer of Record and takes care of payroll, taxes, etc., for up to 29 hrs./week for 4-6 months.  Businesses have the opportunity to try out a new hire before they make a commitment.  While it is hoped that the worker would be offered a full-time position once the Paid Work Experience is over, it is not a requirement – workers are still able to learn skills and build a work history while in a paid work experience.  On-The Job Training (OJT) is another option to consider if you are interested in making a full-time job offer to a new hire.  The Skillful Transitions OJT Program may be able to reimburse your business up to 75% of a new hire’s wages for 4-6 months.   

Complete details can be found in the Skillful Transitions Request For Information (RFI) HERE.

Note:  RFI’s that are requesting funding for staff, complete service delivery, etc., that are over $50,000, must be approved on a quarterly basis at EMI’s Program Committee meetings (see schedule below).  Only submissions received by the deadline prior to the meeting will be accepted. 



Committee Approval Date

Aug. 5, 2022

Aug. 18, 2022

Nov. 4, 2022

Nov. 17, 2022

Feb. 3, 2023

Feb. 16, 2023

May 5, 2023

May 18, 2023

Aug. 4, 2023

Aug. 17, 2023


*Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) for the RFI will be posted on the RFI page as they are compiled. 

If you are a business, non-profit organization, or training provider interested in learning more about the Skillful Transitions Program, please email


Job Seekers

To be eligible for the Skillful Transitions program, an individual must be at least 16 years old, eligible to work in the United States and must fall into one of these categories: 

  • Unemployed workers;
  • Part-time workers (working 31 hrs. or less per week);
  • Underemployed workers (working full-time but with low wages, or working multiple jobs to maintain their household); or
  • Incumbent workers (working 32 hrs. or more per week) where the training or work experience can address negative economic impacts of the pandemic due to a worker’s occupation or level of training. 

Individuals will be assessed prior to enrollment into the Skillful Transitions program to ensure eligibility requirements are met and to determine a participant’s short- and long-term education and career goals. 

There is no cost for individuals who are interested and eligible to participate in the Skillful Transitions Program.  Some skill training offerings include a stipend payment while in classroom training.  Paid Work Experiences pay a wage while you work and learn job skills.  Other incentives such as gift cards are available when goals are met, and supportive services including transportation and childcare may be available for those that need assistance to successfully complete the program and move to a stable, good-paying job and career.

If you are an individual interested in learning more about the Skillful Transitions program, please email:


The Skillful Transitions Program is funded  using American Rescue Plan Act State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (ARPA SLFRF). 

Employ Milwaukee

2342 North 27th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53210

Phone: (414) 270-1700Fax: (414) 225-2375

Deaf, hearing or speech impaired callers may reach us by the Wisconsin Relay number 711.

Employ Milwaukee is an Equal Opportunity Employer & Service Provider.

Auxiliary Aids and services are available to individuals with disabilities upon request. If you need this material interpreted to a language you understand or in a different format, or need assistance in accessing services, please contact us.

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