Mayor Tom Barrett, other city leaders and workforce development officials have high hopes the new $450 million Northwestern Mutual office tower in downtown Milwaukee will provide meaningful jobs to city residents.
On Monday, Barrett officially launched a new workforce development plan aimed at connecting city residents with construction jobs at Northwestern Mutual’s work site.
Construction on the 32-story, 550-foot tower, to be built adjacent to its historic 1914 headquarters in downtown Milwaukee, is scheduled to begin this fall. The project is expected to be completed near the end of 2017.
The city plans to use $500,000 in funds from the Nothwestern Mutual tax incremental financing district to pay for training and placement of workers. The city has contracted with the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership, or WRTP/BIG STEP, and the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board to lead the training.
The plan would identify specific jobs that will be in demand on the worksite. WRTP/BIG STEP will find and train city residents who will be ready to fill 150 jobs at the worksite and another 200 workers at other construction projects.
In addition, Northwestern Mutual is aiming to exceed the requirement that 40% of the construction workforce live in the city.
Earl Buford, CEO of WRTP/BIG STEP, said the plan will provide a pathway for city residents to find meaningful work at a livable salary.
Linda Stewart, MAWIB’s COO, said not all of the new jobs will start at the same time.
“We want to get as many people in the pipeline as soon as possible,” Stewart said. “Construction is a growth sector.”
City residents interested in participating in the Workforce Development Program can call (414) 342-9787.