The Evers administration announced Tuesday that it will invest just over $1 million in job training, summer jobs and activities for Milwaukee youth.
Half of the funding is for the city’s “Earn and Learn” program, which will provide workplace learning, enrichment and mentorship. Milwaukee Public Schools is also contributing $200,000 to provide transportation and program support.
Employ Milwaukee, which helps run this program, is also receiving $135,224 for a summer program it runs with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee to provide paid employment for 225 children, both in an existing program for ages 14 and up and a new pilot program for ages 10-15.
“Labour market readiness is multi-generational and the earlier we can prepare and expose our young people to meaningful employment and life skills training, the greater their chances of improving their long-term quality of life,” said said Chytania Brown, CEO of Employment Milwaukee, in a statement. press release announcing the funding.
Studies have shown that summer employment for teens does not necessarily reduce violent crime in this age group during programs. But in the long run, it reduces arrests and convictions for children considered “high risk” because they were arrested before participating in the program.
The Milwaukee Public Library’s Connected Learning for Teens program is receiving the remaining funding. The library offers “creative spaces” for young people to learn professional skills, as well as programs for reading, creative development and other activities. The $400,000 will also help pay for five summer teen animators, three year-round teen interns, and three part-time, year-round animator roles.
Funding for summer jobs is another part of the nearly $100 million the governor’s office has invested in violence prevention in Milwaukee after the city saw a spike in gun deaths and reckless driving. More than half of the money went to law enforcement — $50 million for local and tribal law enforcement agencies and for the Office of the Public Defender and Assistant District Attorney to solve a backlog of criminal cases, plus $2.2 million to help Milwaukee police fight crime and violence. An additional $45 million was dedicated to violence prevention efforts and support for victims, including $8 million specifically for the city’s Office of Violence Prevention.
The city office last month closed applications for grants of $25,000 to $50,000 for organizations supporting young people and their families in priority neighborhoods hardest hit by violence.