State program restores suspended licenses to boost employment

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MILWAUKEE -- A newly formed statewide jobs group is trying to help those with suspended licenses get those licenses restored, in an effort to boost employment in the state.

Brian Baldwin has been living his life without a driver's license for the past two years.

"I didn't have the money to pay the (parking) tickets. My daughter's husband died recently, young man, so her and her three kids moved in with my wife and kids. All my money goes towards the household and helping her get back on her feet," Baldwin said.

Saturday, August 25th, Baldwin became one of an estimated 550 Milwaukeeans to take a step towards overcoming their suspensions four months ago to the day the Governor's Task Force on Minority Unemployment met for the first time. 

The Task Force set a goal to focus on the urban unemployment problem, come up with solutions and implement those solutions.

"A lot of the jobs right now are in the suburban areas or in the outlying areas.  If you don't have a valid driver's license, you are almost subjected to not being able to go to work," Task Force Transportation Chair Dorothy Wilson said.

The free Driver's License Recovery event was all about sifting through governmental procedures.  Participants were guided through gathering official lists of their parking tickets, making the appropriate copies of forms and IDs, then scheduling a court date.  It’s something Milwaukee Municipal Court Judge Derek Mosley is excited for.

"In his job, he's seeing individuals everyday, and he thought it might be a good idea to see a large number of individuals at one time versus five here, five there," Wilson said.

Not everyone could be helped.  A household income at or below 200% of the poverty level, was required to qualify for the event. Also, participants had to be looking for a job and suspensions could only be due to unpaid fines.

Another session for moving violations is planned for October. 

Baldwin says this program has given him a new lease on life.

"This is great for me. I can apply for those better positions because I can drive," Baldwin said.

Program participants had to make a trip to court, where their suspensions would be lifted. Then, head over to the DMV for a new, valid driver's license.

CLICK HERE for additional details on the program.