MILWAUKEE — "Now Hiring." The signs are everywhere as Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is at historically low levels.
"We need jobs." A statement you hear so often in the City of Milwaukee.
How do these two conditions exist at the same time?
"This disconnect, sometimes is transportation. Sometimes employers are off bus lines, things like that. And then there's some skills. Skills gaps also," explained Robert Cherry, Vice President of Planning and Fund Development for Employ Milwaukee.
Employ Milwaukee is the federally funded workforce development board for Milwaukee County. One of its primary missions is to connect job seekers and job creators. Both were invited to a manufacturing hiring event this week.
"I'm looking for warehousing. Manufacturing. Distribution. Things like that," said Greg Whitlow of Milwaukee, who is in-between jobs at the moment. "Hopefully, I come in here, apply myself. Talk to the wonderful people around here that's helping me, that want to help me. I should be on my way."
Whitlow, and other job seekers had the opportunity to interview with more than half a dozen employers, including General Mills, which is looking to ramp up operations at its South Side plant.
"Production operators. Mechanical operators. Maintenance Mechanics," Kayla Basulto of General Mills listed open positions, "Control technicians. Forklift drivers. Really you name it, we're looking to hire."
With virtual full employment in Southeast Wisconsin, companies know they have to do on the job training, just to get people in the door.
"We do look for skilled operators. that previously have experience, but it's not always a requirement," Basulto said. "We have a training department that helps to train all employees that come in whether they have experience or not."
If Employ Milwaukee can help, it's in shrinking the skills gap and matching workers with employers.
"What we're able to do at Employ Milwaukee with those skills gaps, is we're able to put people in a job who may just need a little more skill training," Cherry said, "...and help the employer skill those people up while they're on the job."
For more information about Employ Milwaukee, click here.