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Midwest Urban Strategies Consortium for workforce development originated in Milwaukee

After several years of planning, it has finally happened.

The vision of a collective effort among Midwestern cities to help residents in urban communities secure family supporting jobs.

It's an idea that started in Milwaukee and it came together Friday with the announcement of the Midwest Urban Strategies Consortium.

"The fact that were coming together and leading this workforce is the way it should work," said Earl Buford of Employee Milwaukee. "A national model has now emerged because of this."

This will allow for regional workforce development groups to work together instead of competing with each other for federal funding.

The cities participating with Milwaukee are 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.

"Our sports teams can compete," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. "But when it comes to workforce development we share the same vision."


JP Morgan Chase is providing an inaugural $100,000 to help form the infrastructure of the group that will work on making best practices, common practices.

"Philanthropy has an important role to play in bringing the workforce to scale and we are proud to be part of those efforts," added Jerry Roberts, Program Officer, Bader Philanthropies.

Among the innovative ideas coming to fruition include development of training for "middle skill jobs" that  require some education after high school, but not a four year degree and in the healthcare industry in particular. It will make outreach to tech schools and community colleges critical.

Working with community groups will also be essential as a main challenge has emerged in our country's cities and that' s preparing youth who have experienced and witnessed trauma with coping skills to succeed in the workplace.

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