To support the "next generation of workers," $450K to Governor Walker's Summer Youth Employment program

MILWAUKEE -- Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson on Tuesday, June 23rd joined leaders from Bon-Ton Stores, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) at Boston Store in Southridge Mall to announce over $450,000 in funds to support Governor Walker’s 2015 Summer Youth Employment program.

"Governor Walker's Summer Youth Employment Program is equipping Wisconsin's next generation of workers with critical job skills that serve as a strong foundation for their future careers," said Lt. Governor Kleefisch. "Our dedicated employer partners in the Milwaukee area make this program successful by providing accessible worksites that foster talent development."

Governor Walker directed DWD to award general purpose revenue funds to MAWIB and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee to jointly administer the local program to provide Milwaukee County youth and young adults with paid summer work placements in the Milwaukee area for to 20 hours per week. Locations include private-sector employers and community-based organizations.

DWD Secretary Newson said, "Governor Walker's Summer Youth Employment Program is an important investment in developing Milwaukee's future workforce. In partnership with program administrators and businesses like Bon-Ton Stores, we are supporting job creation and strengthening southeastern Wisconsin's economy."

Participating youth complete a week of work-readiness training that includes an individualized assessment, soft skills development, resume writing, interviewing skills, job coaching, and financial literacy. Those who successfully finish their work experience are prepared for their return to school or for entry-level employment.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett highlighted the Earn & Learn program, which the city operates jointly with MAWIB to provide work experiences for youth in the area, stating: “We’ve put more than 22,000 teens to work, introducing them to career possibilities and the importance of a job. I’m grateful for the support from the Department of Workforce Development and our many partners, including the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.”

Bon-Ton Stores has participated in the Governor's Summer Youth Employment Program since summer 2013, making private sector retail work experiences available to 104 teens at five Boston Store locations and at the Clearance Center in metropolitan Milwaukee. A total of 38 program participants have been permanently hired by the company.

"Over 100 youth have benefited from the on-the-job training experiences offered through the Summer Youth Employment Program at Bon-Ton Stores," stated Jim Bellore, Senior Vice President of Store Operations for Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. "Through the Summer Youth Employment Program, over 35% of the program participants have earned permanent positions."