Milwaukee to hire 25 of the unemployed to fix city's potholes

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has announced a program that will help fix the city's potholes and put the unemployed to work.

The city of Milwaukee has 75 full-time employees dedicated to patching potholes -- but they're about to get some more help.

The initiative is described as a "transitional jobs" program -- and will involve the creation of 25 full-time, temporary jobs for street maintenance.

From the beginning of the year through Tuesday, February 18th, 1,251 pothole location requests were received. During that same time, 1,158 pothole requests were resolved with an average response time of two days 13 hours.

Potholes are a problem on Bow Street -- near Pete's Fruit Market.

"We drive up and down this street all day long. We make deliveries through here and the streets are pretty bad. A lot of potholes," Pete's Fruit Market's General Manager Rob Heotis told FOX6 News.

Heotis says he thinks the new plan is a great idea.

Federal money will be used to target "hard-to-hire" Milwaukee residents. Those who have been out of work for more than a month may qualify.

"For any reason, just not being able to really get back into the workforce because of lack of recent work experience or some job skills, maybe transportation problems," Tina Koehn with the non-profit United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS) said.

There is enough money to hire 25 employees for six months.

"Larger crews that will allow us to fill more potholes and it is our goal to hire these 25 individuals within the next month," Mayor Barrett said.

The program guarantees employment for six months at $9.5o per hour.

The goal is that by the end of those six months, the individuals will have new job skills, and an updated job history they can point to as they look for permanent work.

Potholes can be reported through the City’s Call Center at 286-CITY (286-2489) or via its website.

CLICK HERE to report a pothole online.