A neighborhood revitalization project is being praised for taking blighted homes out of the community while providing young men and women with skilled training.
The Northcott Neighborhood House program is repairing or demolishing vacant homes out of the Sherman Park neighborhood.
A home once seen as a neighborhood eyesore on N. 40th St. was deconstructed piece by piece Wednesday afternoon by a group of more than 20 men, many with troubled pasts.
"I'm actually an ex-felon checked out of prison," said trainee Demetrik Williams. "I didn't have no job history, I didn't consider having no job, I wasn't paying any child support."
A year and a half ago, Williams heard about Northcott Neighborhood House, a program that teaches unemployed men and women a skilled trade while making an honest wage.
"Right now I'm actually graduating through MATC through Northcott for plumbing, demolition and siding," he said.
It's seen as a classroom out in the field that's part of a multi-million dollar state grant to address blight in Milwaukee.
Rather than taking materials from the vacant homes to the landfill, many will be repurposed to build sheds.
"Some of it will go to demolition, some of it will go to deconstruction and some of it will go to rehabilitating homes as well," said Mayor Tom Barrett.
Once it's time for the rebuilding process, the group learns trades from electricians, plumbers and construction crews.
"We all have pasts, we've all been out on the streets our whole lives doing things we shouldn't have done and now we're out here trying to make a change in our community,” said Williams.
The Northcott Neighborhood House program is looking for 60 new trainees to join their 6 month program.
To apply, visit their main location at 2460 N 6th St. For more information call (414) 372-3770.