County Executive Chris Abele said tackling racial disparities in Milwaukee is his top priority as he begins a new, four-year term.
He said African-Americans in the city are disproportionately incarcerated, unemployed and fail to finish schools.
Abele said he’ll work to enlist the help of the state, the city of Milwaukee, and leaders from the non-profit, education and business communities to help tackle the problem.
“I’m using every chip I’ve got,” Abele said. “Let’s get on board. Let’s do something about this. Let’s stop doing summits and writing op-eds and hosting a conference here or there.”
Abele said he’ll work to steer resources, from job training to the renovation of parks, into impoverished communities – especially the 53206 zip code on the northwest Side.
“We’re not just going to increase resource, we’re going to focus them in a way that people are going to see a tangible impact,” he said.
Abele also said anticipation continues to grow around a new, Milwaukee Bucks arena downtown. He said 98 percent of the space in the Park East lot, across the street from the arena site, has already attracted commitments from developers.
He said the county will encourage local workers to get trained in the building trades so they can take advantage of construction jobs that will become available in the arena district.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to point people in the direction of these opportunities,” Abele said.