Graham Kilmer
MKE County

County Youth Commission Accepting Applications

Newly reestablished commission gives high schoolers government experience.

By - Sep 1st, 2022 02:59 pm
David Crowley and Marcelia Nicholson.

David Crowley and Marcelia Nicholson.

The new Milwaukee County Youth Commission is now accepting applications for its first class of members since it was disbanded more than a decade ago.

The youth commission, which was originally established in 2002 and run for a brief period of time, was reestablished in June by Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley and County Board Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson.

The commission will consist of 20 high-school-age county residents (14-18 years old), with one representative from each of the 18 county supervisory districts and two co-chairs selected by Crowley and Nicholson, respectively..

The youth commissioners will review program proposals from youth organizations and make advisory recommendations on policy and budget proposals that affect young people in the county, as well as work on developing a county take-a-child-to-work day and have opportunities to advise the county executive and board chairwoman on county policy.

This new iteration of the commission will give the young people serving on it a wider brief than the first commission had. “We want to go a little deeper this time,” said Nicholson in discussing the proposal earlier this year. It will also pay $12.50 an hour to members for meetings and other commission activities.

The impetus for reviving the new commission is two-fold: get young people involved in the process of shaping public policy that affects their lives and ignite an interest in public and community service.

“I’m excited to see the Youth Commission becoming a reality,” Crowley said in a statement. “My service on the Youth Commission opened my eyes to the power and potential that every person, even young people, in our community has to offer. Today’s youth should have the opportunity to realize their same power and have an active voice in County government.”

During his 2022 State of the County Address, Crowley declared that this year would be the ‘The Year of the Youth.” Crowley served on the first youth commission, and when the proposal was introduced, he quipped that maybe another future county executive will serve on it.

“As an educator, I will always be committed to engaging with our youth to uplift the conditions of all people across our community,” said Nicholson, a former Milwaukee Public Schools teacher. “Our young people certainly are our future, but they should also be empowered today to make their voices heard on the issues that affect them and their families.”

Nicholson has noted that the county has commissions on aging and for persons with disabilities, and said, “We’re constantly revising our programs that serve our youth, and so they should have a seat at the table.”

Applications for the commission are due by Sept. 30. If you or your child are interested in applying for the commission, visit the county webpage linked here.

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