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Bucks, “SkillSmart” create platform to connect job-seekers with careers in new downtown arena district

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MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks are committed to hiring local residents for arena construction and the new arena district in downtown Milwaukee, and they’ve partnered with a company called SkillSmart to help find qualified workers.

The Bucks on Thursday, December 8th announced the partnership, creating a workforce development platform for careers in the new arena district — both during the construction process and for end-use positions in the arena and surrounding development.

The platform can be accessed at www.bucksarenajobs.com or www.wisconsinesc.com/careers and will serve as a resource for both job seekers and employers.

“This project is as much about creating meaningful and long-lasting employment for the citizens of Milwaukee who need it most as it is about creating a world-class venue for the people of Wisconsin to enjoy,” Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry said in a statement. “As part of our development agreement we made a commitment to partner with the city and county on workforce development initiatives that will truly make a difference for jobseekers in Wisconsin. The SkillSmart platform will not only align Milwaukee jobseekers with available positions in and around the arena, but create a more qualified pipeline of potential employees that will be mutually beneficial for jobseekers and employers throughout the region. We can’t wait to begin rolling this tool out in communities throughout the city and begin providing meaningful opportunities for local residents interested expanding their skill sets and finding employment within this vibrant new development.”

“Milwaukee County has already placed more than 100 individuals in jobs averaging more than $15 per hour through our UpLift MKE partnership with the Bucks, just since the beginning of the year,” Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said in a statement. “These efforts are targeted directly to workers, particularly those in and near the Sherman Park area, who most need support to successfully climb the ladder of opportunity. The potential to benefit our community here can’t be overstated. The Bucks’ commitment to build the future in Milwaukee will have a profound and lasting impact on our community.”

According to Bucks officials, construction of the new arena is expected to generate over 3,000 jobs, while an additional $230 million in economic development is already pledged or under construction in the surrounding area that will produce thousands more family-supporting careers in the coming years.

This new platform powered by SkillSmart will build a pipeline of qualified applicants for construction and end-use positions throughout the district. The site breaks down available positions in terms of necessary skills and prerequisites, while inviting jobseekers to build a personal profile based around their work experience, training and qualifications. The tool will then provide jobseekers with scores for each available position based upon how well their skillset and qualifications align with the job, while also providing resources to potential employees on additional training available for them to become stronger candidates for available positions.

“We are pleased to partner with the Bucks in implementing SkillSmart,” Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in the statement. “We are making the process more efficient by taking the Residence Preference Program (RPP) certification process directly to residents and making it even easier to get certified. I’m hopeful Milwaukee residents will come to the job information meetings scheduled and take advantage of this effort.”

In the coming weeks, the Bucks will be partnering with the City of Milwaukee to host a series of town hall meetings throughout the city to introduce prospective jobseekers to the platform and help them begin building their personal employment profiles.

The first event is slated for Thursday, December 15th from 5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at Journey House (located at 2110 W. Scott Street).

Dates and locations for additional town hall meetings will be available in the coming weeks.

According to Bucks officials, the team has committed to meeting a 40 percent RPP threshold for trade workers on the construction of the new arena. As part of the SkillSmart roll-out, the Bucks and City of Milwaukee officials will work together to assist local job seekers to become RPP certified and ensure that a large percentage of available positions go to local workers who need the opportunities most. City of Milwaukee officials will be on hand at each town hall meeting to assist attendees interested in receiving RPP certification.