MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- 20 people hired through a city of Milwaukee program to fill potholes got to work on Monday, May 19th -- and the city hopes patching up Milwaukee's roads is just the beginning of this program.
Prepare. Patch. Compress.
That's the method Milwaukee Public Works crews use to fill potholes on city streets.
On Monday, there were new workers on board -- and it's a sight city leaders say we'll be seeing more often.
"We couldn`t keep up with what we had as far as our employees, so it`s nice to have them around because at least this way, we can get a lot more done," Juan Velasquez said.
Velasquez was working Monday to train the new employees.
The city hired the employees through a "Transitional Jobs Program" -- aimed a residents of Milwaukee's central city who have been out of work for at lease four weeks.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett announced the program last month.
On Monday, the new employees hit the streets.
"Right away with the patching, filling the holes up and taking control of the street and getting it done. What's the best way? It's to be hands on," Velasquez said.
These jobs are part of a six-month program, but city leaders hope the workers will gain enough experience to land permanent jobs -- either with the city, or with a private business.
"This is a win-win because the need is there for more workforce and this is an opportunity for people who have had a hard time finding jobs to have good experience," Milwaukee Public Works Commissioner Ghassan Korban said.
Workers like Velasquez, who are training the new employees, say they welcome the help -- especially after a winter that was rough -- even by Milwaukee standards!
"It`s nice to have them here and there`s no special privileges. We`re all doing the same job and trying to get along and get it done as fast and quick as we can," Velasquez said.
Korban says the Milwaukee Department of Public Works is still in the process of filling the five remaining spots in the program.
He says he hopes to have them filled within the next couple of weeks.
That will bring the total number of new employees to 25.
The program is a partnership between the city of Milwaukee, UMOS, and the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board.
If you're interested in one of the five remaining positions, please note that you must reside in the "Transitional Jobs Program" area at the time of enrollment.
The boundaries are Highway 43 on the east, W. Mitchell Street on the south, S. 43rd Street/Sherman Boulevard on the west, and W. Silver Spring Drive on the north.
You must be 18 to 64 years of age at the time of enrollment.
If you are older than 24 years of age, you MUST be the biological, adoptive or primary relative caregiver of a child under the age of 18.
You must have a child support order, a child welfare reunification plan or be an ex-offender.
You must have been unemployed for the last four consecutive calendar weeks prior to enrollment in the program.
You cannot be receiving W2 benefits -- and you cannot be eligible for unemployment insurance compensation.
You must have an annual household income that is less than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines for the size of your household.
If you are interested in enrolling in the program, you're asked to contact any one of the following individuals at UMOS:
- Vanna Lovan (414) 389-6217
- Jector Lerma (414) 389-6234
- Morris Brazil (414) 389-6229