Podcast: YWCA’s Jamaal Smith on Bridging Milwaukee’s Jobs Gap
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United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Podcast: YWCA’s Jamaal Smith on Bridging Milwaukee’s Jobs Gap

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July 20, 2017

Produced by Katie Kuhn, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Listen Now (00:28:55)


CORRECTION: In the July 11th epiosde of Living Local, Shannon Reed's professional title was incorrect. Shannon is Director of Innovative Strategies for Boys and Men of Color at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

Milwaukee is among the top five cities in the nation in poverty as well as in the bottom five cities in Black male and female employment. Milwaukee is also the most segregated metropolitan city in America, leading to limited opportunities for some in comparison to others.

Recently, United Way program partner YWCA Southeast Wisconsin conducted a Community Readiness Assessment of job providers and job seekers to understand this employment gap. The findings were interesting: most employers were at a level of “vague awareness,” meaning they were aware of efforts to address this job gap but lacked the motivation to act or had little to no confidence in change occurring.

Today we talk with Jamaal Smith, Racial Justice Community Engagement Manager at YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, about the implications of this report. Jamaal is hard at work developing support and understanding around how local corporations and organizations can work together to create a job-ready workforce that includes everyone, no matter their background or where they are starting. This is big work, and Jamaal discusses the challenges he has faced thus far and his vision for a community where everyone is ready and able to work.   

If you have ideas about this project and want to get involved, contact Jamaal Smith by phone at 414.267.3285 or by email at jsmith@ywcasew.org

Learn about the “Bridging Employer Readiness and Worker Willingness” Community Readiness assessment and YWCA’s racial justice work.



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