Newson seeks federal grants to address black male unemployment

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson today called for increased collaboration between the federal government and state of Wisconsin to connect working-age black males with manufacturing skills training and access to employment opportunities in southeastern Wisconsin.

After meeting with U.S. Department of Labor officials and members of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation, Newson urged federal officials to collaborate with DWD on programs and services “that will move the state of Wisconsin in this direction.” He advocated for additional federal grant funding, as well as greater flexibility with existing dollars, to reduce unemployment among minority populations in southeastern and south-central Wisconsin, including black males in the Milwaukee area.  

Sharing the details of the state’s efforts to connect job seekers to jobs, including specifics of the Walker administration’s Wisconsin Working plan, Newson cited a recent study by Dr. Marc Levine of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee that indicates only 44.7% metropolitan Milwaukee’s working-age black males between the ages of 16 and 64 were employed in 2010.

“The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development will push for all available resources and tools to get job seekers trained and into good-paying jobs like advanced manufacturing,” Newson said in a press release. “On behalf of Gov. Walker, we are also committed to pursuing solutions to disparities that exist in southeastern and south-central Wisconsin, including the unacceptably high unemployment rate among black males in metro Milwaukee.”

During his visit, Newson met with Dr. William E. Spriggs, assistant secretary for policy for the Department of Labor; Gregg Weltz, chief of the division of youth services in the Employment and Training Administration; and Carrianna Suiter, legislative officer in the DOL’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.