MetroGO
Press Release

Regional Leaders Unite to Advance New Research into Workforce Transit Solutions

MetroGO! and The Regional Transit Leadership Council advance “Last Mile” research to bridge employment disconnect.

By - Mar 30th, 2017 08:02 pm

MetroGO! and The Regional Transit Leadership Council have united to advance research being released today by the Public Policy Forum: “The Last Mile: Connecting Workers to Places of Employment.” The “Last Mile” gap is an important factor in employment—the often-considerable distance between the bus stop and the employer’s door.

“The physical barriers in the Valley prove to be real obstacles to people getting to work. Despite the Valley’s central location and proximity to residents, many of our employers have experienced transportation as a challenge to recruiting and retaining employees.”
Corey Zetts, Executive Director, Menomonee Valley Partners, Milwaukee

The “Last Mile” research provides a new opportunity to engage employers and workforce in a strategic, action-based dialogue with SE Wisconsin leaders using newly compiled data and best practices to implement solutions for connecting our workforce with employers.

“Half of our employees at our Brookfield location are dependent on public transportation. This has been challenging since the actual bus stop is nearly 1 mile away from the facility. This becomes an even greater concern when weather conditions become a factor. We are currently operating at almost 40% of our ideal staffing level even though we pay above market wages.”
– Anthony Austin, Director of Human Resources, Portillo’s Corporate Office

Intense workforce competition is a top priority in our region, state and country. Between 2014 and 2024 4-County metro Milwaukee is projected to gain 58,700 new jobs, and the working age population is projected to decline by 2,600 (age 20-64.) Getting our region’s entire workforce employed is urgent.

While Milwaukee has the region’s largest available labor force, workers rely on transit: 19% of households in the City of Milwaukee do not have access to a car. In high unemployment census tracts, 29% have no car access. Half of workforce program participants do not have a valid drivers license.

“Employees relying on public transportation to get to work are challenged because bus routes are a mile or two from our facility. We need solutions to remove this barrier so that employers, like Arandell, in and around the Menomonee Falls Industrial Park have access to a larger talent pool.”
– Joyce Taylor, Vice President, Human Services, Arandell

MetroGO! and The Leadership Council are engaging employers to understand their hiring needs as the next step in identifying solutions. These Last Mile solutions are expected to improve access to a broader range of wages, employment and career opportunities for job seekers to move up the career path.

Paul Decker, Chairman, Waukesha County Board, and Chair of the Leadership Council’s Executive Committee stated, “This research is an important step in ensuring a mobile, agile workforce that can deploy easily, dependably, and efficiently to where the jobs are, which is vital to our region’s global competitiveness.” The Leadership Council plays a vital role in the ultimate coordination of businesses and local components across the region in implementation of Last Mile recommendations.

Employers who are facing Last Mile challenges are encouraged to contact MetroGO! at info@MetroGO.org.

The Last Mile study report executive summary, full report can be found on the Public Policy Forum’s website: www.PublicPolicyForum.org.

Funding partners include: Bader Philanthropies, Waukesha County, Menomonee Valley Business Improvement District, Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin, Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

MetroGO! is a 501 c 3 non-profit organization works to create a regional transit network that fuels the economy and workforce growth — and builds vibrant, well-connected communities in 6-county Metro Milwaukee. MetroGO! staffs the independent Leadership Council.

The Regional Transit Leadership Council (“Leadership Council”) is a consortium for collaboration across jurisdictions and diverse political and industry backgrounds committed to advancing a connected and economically competitive region.

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