Helping Job Seekers
and Making Milwaukee Safer
At a time when many jobs have disappeared during the pandemic, the services of Employ Milwaukee in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are needed more than ever. Employ Milwaukee is the county’s local workforce development board, a dedicated group that helps provide job training, talent development and job placements. However, when COVID-19 struck, the board was at risk of losing its own staffing. A Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan has made a big difference—not only to Employ Milwaukee, but also to the larger community.
After completing a very productive year in 2019, Employ Milwaukee went into 2020 expecting another strong performance. Then the pandemic struck. On March 16, 2020, the county of Milwaukee called for a county-wide lockdown. That also happened to be the first day of work for Chytania Brown, who had just been hired as the new President/CEO for Employ Milwaukee.
Ms. Brown had about five minutes to think, and then she needed to act. The organization’s main concern was to continue service to the community, connecting job seekers with employers, no matter what. When she thinks back on it, she remembers, “I didn’t have time to plan and create a strategy on what to do; I said to myself, ‘just do it!’”
Among the many actions Ms. Brown took was applying to Self-Help Federal Credit Union for a PPP loan. Today, as Ms. Brown and her Employ Milwaukee team of 54 look back on 2020, they are proud of what they were able to accomplish despite the obstacles posed by COVID-1. The PPP loan helped the organization in a number of ways by allowing them to:
- Keep their entire staff on the payroll
- Keep staff safe by ensuring they had necessary equipment to work from home
- Offer remote training and counseling to hundreds of job seekers
- Conduct a drive-thru job fair
- Place 500 youth in summer jobs
This year Employ Milwaukee is continuing their mission in partnership with other local agencies to provide urgently needed services during COVID. They are training, employing and deploying more than 100 people to take on paid jobs to serve local residents in need at community organizations, churches, shelters, isolation facilities and other public health staging areas. The jobs include distributing public health information and resources, delivering medicine, food and other supplies and assisting in contact tracing.
Thank you, Employ Milwaukee, for all the great work you do, and for being a Self-Help member!