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Hitting the street: 20 hired through special program get to work filling potholes

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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


  • scottie

    Smdh. U mfs are ignorant. At least this program will help people get on a right path, why r u doing to help, in any kind of way…

  • diane

    Scottie I was taught from the very beginning if I wanted something I found a way to earn the $$$ I didnt rob or steal…I went to school…worked hard…back when I was young minimum wage was $2.10 an hour…I saved up put myself through college…no government help for me I am caucasion

  • diane

    I am white. .low end middle class my parents didnt ever buy a new car ever..both my parents worked hard.and we wore hand me downs..etc..I live comfortably my four kids have followed suit…we pay taxes work weekends..we sacrifice we dont steal or make excuses…we volunteer in oir communities..but People need to step it up a notch or two or three get your hands dirty..loose some sleep I worked three jobs at one time…went to college and raised fo

  • diane

    Raised four good hardworking kids..who dont have theor mugshots posted…they were raised to know right from wrong and take personal pride and responsibility…for all aspects

  • diane

    For all.aspects of their lives..makes me mad as heck. When an able bodied person yellow purple black or white thinks they are anything..dont claim you are God fearing and than terrorize.rib and steal..a minimum wage job is just that a place to show you will work hard.take pride show up be honest..job skills..screw that up with a criminal record and you have only yourself to blame dont have kids..if you dont have a plan I raised and paid for mine. I refuse to pay for yours! !! It starts in the home…amen

    • BayViewer

      Typical judgemental privileged response. Have you volunteered in the inner city to help the youth who’s parents aren’t around to teach them right from wrong because they’re busy working three jobs trying to feed their kids. Do you understand the struggles people face on the daily? Have you walked in their shoes? What are you doing besides being judgemental of others? At least Mayor Barrett is trying to find a way to help people who are going through hard times, even if it’s just 24 people. I work at an after school program that helps inner city youth graduate high school and these kids don’t even have pencils half the time. Many of the kids in this program on the southside are learning a language in school that their parents don’t use at home. Were you bilingual at 10?

      When you were going to college your books weren’t $300 a semester and $5000 tuition a semester. Some of these kids don’t even know that they can go to college, that it’s even an option if they graduate High School. Your perspective is completely outdated and ignorant of the struggles that people are currently going through. We live in the society that blames people for being stuck in a cycle of poverty instead of helping them. It’s hard to get a good job when nobody taught you how to write a resume or you don’t have computer resources to write one or you don’t have money for clothes for an interview.

      Help people instead of judging a life you know nothing about.

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