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Now Abele Sees Himself As a Job Training Expert

Issue of the week

May. 9, 2017
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The Milwaukee-area employment situation has a long way to go to get itself back to the days when Milwaukee was the leading manufacturing city in America and manufacturing was the main source for solid, well-paying jobs. Besides the city’s Department of City Development and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, another entity that has done a very good job on the employment creation front has been Employ Milwaukee, the local job training program funded by federal job training dollars.  

The federal job training dollars from the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), comes through the state and then through the local Workforce Development Areas, which can be a geographic area composed of a county or a group of counties. Several years ago, then Gov. Jim Doyle shifted the job training dollars from Milwaukee County to the City of Milwaukee as the coordinator of the job training dollars. The City of Milwaukee created the entity, Employ Milwaukee, to administer the program, and it has done a very efficient and effective job with those training dollars. Now, completely out of left field, Chris Abele has petitioned Gov. Scott Walker to shift the job training dollars to some entity under him. There are many problems with Abele’s request including the fact that the federal law, WIOA, directs the states to retain the local entities currently administering the monies as long as they are performing successfully.


Abele Doesn’t Know What He Doesn’t Know

Besides the direction from the federal law, there are many other problems with this effort by Abele. First of all, Abele has absolutely no experience in the field of employment and training. Apparently he has never had a job that wasn’t purchased with his father’s money whether it was the family foundation he ran or the elections he won with the help of out-of-town consultants who were paid with literally millions of his father’s dollars. Second, he has basically messed up almost everything he has ever tried to run. Just look at his record as county executive. Those who have worked closely with him blame his massive insecurity, which prevents him from being an effective manager. Third, he has not been able to follow through and complete his own training. After a couple of efforts at different colleges, he was never able to successfully complete a degree and it certainly wasn’t for lack of money. Follow through and successful completion of a job training program is essential for the participants in these job training programs to have any chance at getting a solid job with middle-class wages. Abele is a terrible role model. Finally, his dubious approach to this power grab is another example of some serious character flaws.

Other than his desire to have more power, there is no justifiable reason to shift this program from the purview of the city to Abele’s control. Employ Milwaukee is working. People who need this training are getting it and are getting jobs. Given the way other entities Abele has tried to manage have fared, an Abele takeover of the jobs training program would likely bring disruptions and a drop in quality that beneficiaries simply don’t need. Abele has made terrible decisions because he didn’t know what he didn’t know and was too insecure to listen and learn from those who do know. Employed individuals trying to get training to get their lives back on track should not be hurt because Abele wants a new toy. People’s futures are not for you to play with, Mr. Abele. The Shepherd strongly believes that you don’t try to fix something that isn’t broken and Employ Milwaukee is not broken.


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