A working partnership


Thanks to Wal-Mart for a grant that will help train young workers in green jobs. More is needed.

In a meeting with the Editorial Board the other day, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Donald Sykes, president and CEO of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, expressed their appreciation to the Walmart Foundation for the $550,000 the foundation is donating to help train young workers for green jobs. The community should join in that thanks.

And it should also ask – nicely – that this not be a one-time thing, that the grants keep coming so future young workers and the community can benefit even more. The Walmart Foundation donated $5 million to the U.S. Conference of Mayors to support the Green Jobs Training Initiative. In spring, through a competitive selection process led by the organization, six grants were awarded to non-profit organizations that have a history of working with mayors to train people for green jobs.

One of those grants came to Milwaukee. Barrett said the grant will be used to expand the city’s program, the Milwaukee Conservation Leadership Corps, which benefits the environment and the participants. Barrett said earlier that the corps shows what private, public and non-profit sectors can do together to develop workers while improving the environment.

The program involves Johnson Controls Inc. and the Student Conservation Association. It trains disadvantaged high school students in conservation practices, putting them to work in Milwaukee-area parks. The grant, through the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, allows 50 more students to participate, and it starts a school-year program for 30 students and strengthens training for crew leaders.

It’s a terrific program, one that deserves to continue.


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