All adults of working age in our community should have the opportunity to obtain permanent employment with a livable wage at a workplace where they are treated with dignity and have opportunities for advancement. United Way’s Diversity Leadership Society is heading up an initiative to reduce barriers to employment and advancement for local, diverse individuals.
A multi-faceted approach will be the centerpiece of the initiative:
Education, training, and credentials. The society will financially support programs that help adults learn to read, earn their GED or other employment credentials, and teach English as a Second Language (ESL).
Transportation. The society will support programs that help adults recover their driver’s license and assist youth in obtaining their initial driver’s license.
Involvement in the justice system. The society will advocate for laws that promote expungement of records from public databases for non-violent offenders. Studies have shown that most employers are reluctant to hire applicants with criminal records, even for non-violent convictions.
Diverse talent retention. With help from outside consultants, the society will develop a survey tool to understand why diverse talent is leaving the region at such a high rate.
- Almost 14% of African-Americans are unemployed in Milwaukee vs. 2.7% of Caucasians. This is the largest gap of any American metropolitan area.
- In the 2016 - 2017 school year, 40% of African-American, 36% of Hispanic, and 45% of multiracial Milwaukee Public School high school students did not complete their four-year diploma.
- Only 10% of African-American men with a criminal record in Wisconsin have a valid driver’s license.
- One in eight African-American men were incarcerated in 2013, the highest rate in the nation.
- Wisconsin is one of the highest ranked outbound states in the country, with nearly 60% of movers leaving the state for a job.
What You Can Do
Become a leadership donor ($1,200+ annual gift) and a member of the Diversity Leadership Society.
Join us in advocating for policies that reduce barriers to employment at the local, state, and federal level.
Participate in annual job seminars that offer support to local men and women who are currently seeking meaningful employment.