Milwaukee, WI – September 6, 2023


In September, NABTU visited Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a variety of events continuing the nationwide Opportunity Pipeline Tour. Wednesday, September 6, consisted of a training center tour and press conference at the Milwaukee Electrical J.A.T.C. with Governor Tony Evers, Mayor Cavalier Johnson, and Rep. Gwen Moore all in attendance. Among other topics, this event specifically focused on the urgent need for childcare accommodations for all workers, but especially those in the building trades who work untraditional hours. Then, on Thursday, September 7, the visit continued with a tour of an AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust-funded project, The Couture, with executives from Barrett Lo Visionary Development LLC and J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.

In The News

TMJ Local News – NABTU, the Milwaukee Building-Construction Trades Council and EmpowHer, have collaborated with TradesFutures, a national non-profit, to provide childcare subsidies for local working families. “I think that we really need to have at least two years of good data, good feedback, really learning from families before we can go out and tell people what we think is going to work best,” explained Executive Director of Trades Futures, Nicole Schwartz.

WTMJ Radio – Both Evers and NABTU leaders are emphasizing the importance of workforce development .. and including diverse types of people. They’re looking especially to increase the number of women in the workforce like Ashley Szweda. Szweda is a journeywoman laborer for Local 113. She’s struggled to balance her early morning start time and the need for childcare for her two-year-old son.

WisBusiness – Nicole Schwartz, executive director of TradesFutures and a former teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools, said the pilot programs aim to identify solutions for supporting women in the industry. According to the nonprofit’s website, the Milwaukee pilot will provide 12 months of financial assistance for child care needs to 10 tradeswomen or apprentices. “What we hope to be able to do for this pilot project is to provide data and real guidance to policymakers, local partners, how they can really form the future of care,” she said.

The Daily Reporter – “You’re going to hear about all this federal investment we see it at the moment as an opportunity to provide an opportunity to the next generation of skilled trades professionals, what we like to call now the infrastructure generation. Never has there been an opportunity in the United States since the Greatest Generation came back from World War 2 and built the middle class in the United States as we face right now,” McGarvey said at a news conference, noting legislature signed by President Joe Biden.

The Daily Reporter – Barrett said the Couture was his “crown jewel” project and added local unions have provided 100% of labor. The project will create more than 2,000 construction jobs and 150 permanent jobs and has goals to hire 25% of its workforce as disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) and 40% of Milwaukee County residents, the developer noted.

TMJ Local News – “We’re going to do whatever it takes to ensure that the magnitude and breadth of our investments will help ensure that anyone from any background in any community committed to a construction career can find an opportunity to begin it,” said Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building Trades Unions.

Milwaukee Business News – “Behind me is a symphony,” said Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU). “When you see the men and women who are building that building, it’s some of the greatest music ever played.” “It’ll create stability in their lives, it’ll create stability in the lives of their family, it’ll create stability in their neighborhoods, which will create stability in our city,” Johnson said. “In the end, that helps us achieve the public safety that all of us want to see.” Further, Johnson said that The Couture represents the future of Milwaukee, saying he wants to see more developments like this in Milwaukee’s future.

Sharable Resources

Check out the video recordings from our training center and job site events.