Nominated by Social Justice Committee member Leigh Hoftiezer, our March and April Share the Plate recipient is WRTP/BIG STEP. These two acronyms stand for the two partners in this twenty-year-old workforce training collaboration. WRTP is the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership, the non-profit workforce agency. BIG STEP stands for the Building Industry Group Skilled Trades Employment Program, the industry employment program seeking diverse and well-trained employees.
Working collaboratively, these two agencies create new pathways for women and people of color, who are traditionally underrepresented in industry jobs that pay family-supporting salaries. This public-private partnership gives participants free access to education, training, and job placement opportunities. Their services have expanded from Milwaukee to include Racine, Kenosha, Madison and Walworth County.
One participant received math tutoring to pass an apprenticeship entrance exam. Another earned his GED because of the flexibility of the Literacy Service. Antonio was able to buy safety gear for his first job, leading to his earning an apprenticeship. “They don’t just teach you about construction in this program,” sheet metal apprentice Dwayne reports, “they teach you about life skills. They taught me how to get into the workforce world.”
For in-person Sunday Services, half the cash offerings will go to WRTP/BIG STEP; if you prefer to write a check, please write “Share the Plate” on the memo line and half of your check will be donated. Checks may also be mailed to UCN, 13800 N. Port Washington Rd., Mequon, WI 53097. On our website www.ucnorth.org you can donate using PayPal or Breeze. The Northliner also contains a QR code to scan for making a donation.