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Locally Sourced: Milwaukee’s Residents Preference Program and Best Practices for Targeted Hiring

Our new research finds that the City of Milwaukee's Residents Preference Program is largely meeting its goal of employing substantial percentages of Milwaukee residents on construction projects backed by City tax dollars. However, improvements should be considered to ensure that the program is better aligned with the larger workforce development system and is opening the door to long-term career opportunities.

Key findings:

  • For all public works contracts closed between 2010 and 2015 that included RPP requirements, RPP workers accounted for 48% of the 335,732 hours worked, exceeding the program's 40% requirement.  
  • The racial demographics of the RPP workforce generally reflect those of the City’s overall working age population, suggesting that the population served by the program includes a smaller proportion of racial minorities since it was expanded citywide in 2009.
  • Apprenticeships are the primary means of building a career in the construction trades, yet less than 5% of RPP workers who were active on City-financed construction projects since 2010 were employed as apprentices.

 

Media Coverage

"Proposal would change how city puts residents to work"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Comparing Milwaukee's Residents Preference Program to Other Cities"
WUWM Lake Effect

"Report: Milwaukee resident-hiring program could better promote sustainable jobs"
The Daily Reporter

"Building on Milwaukee’s Residents Preference Program"
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

"Study: Too few city workers find career paths in construction"
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel