Mayor Tom Barrett
Press Release

Mayor Barrett Kicks-Off Annual Summer Youth Employment Program

Earn & Learn Provides Young Individuals with Job Skills, Work Experience

By - Mar 29th, 2017 08:49 am

MILWAUKEE – Mayor Tom Barrett opened the application process for the 2017 Earn & Learn initiative, a summer youth employment program that assists young people from Milwaukee in making a successful transition from adolescence into adulthood through job skills and work experience.

Under the leadership of Mayor Barrett, Earn & Learn has placed more than 28,000 students in summer jobs since its inception.

“Everyone remembers their first job and the positive mark that experience left on them,” Mayor Barrett said. “By introducing young people to the world of work, we are creating hope and opportunity in the lives of Milwaukee’s youth.”

Since 2005, nearly $30 million has been raised to employ Earn & Learn teens in Milwaukee. Earn & Learn is operated jointly by Employ Milwaukee, Inc. and the Department of City Development (DCD), and collaborates with local business, non-profit, and community- and faith-based organizations.

“Summer youth employment for our young people is critically important to our community and developing our future workforce. We are proud to provide summer employment to Milwaukee’s young people to help them grow professionally and advance toward their career goals,” said Willie Wade, Chief Marketing Officer, Employ Milwaukee. “I would like to also take this opportunity to thank all of our employers who have partnered with us to provide more work opportunity for our youth.”

In 2004, Mayor Barrett sought funding to support a summer jobs program. In 2005, the first aspect of Earn & Learn, the Summer Youth Internship Program (SYIP), was officially launched. Supported with State and Community Development Block Grant funding, SYIP provides work assignments to youth interns between the ages of 16-19 years old in over a dozen City of Milwaukee departments and bureaus. SYIP participants receive a subsidized wage rate of $8.25 per hour for 20 hours each week for a maximum of 140 hours during the summer work cycle. SYIP applications will be accepted through Friday, March 31.

In 2007, Employ Milwaukee created another aspect of Earn & Learn known as Community Work Experience (CWE). It has become a “first job” opportunity for many disenfranchised youth that require work experience to get a head start on joining Milwaukee’s workforce.

CWE provides youth employed through Earn & Learn between the ages of 14-24 years old with a seven-week work experience at a local community organization that will cover the processing of their applications and work permits, a subsidized wage rate of $7.50 per hour for 20 hours each week, and work-readiness skill development and training. CWE applications will be accepted until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 28.

In 2008, Mayor Barrett announced another area of youth job development with his Private Sector Job Connection (PSJC) in partnership with Milwaukee area businesses to broaden work opportunities to include private sector jobs for teens at least 18 years old.

For more information on Earn & Learn, please visit

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