ThriveOn Collaboration

JobsWork MKE to Bring Focus on Employment and Advancement to ThriveOn King

Milwaukee, Jan. 19, 2023JobsWork MKE, a local nonprofit that helps community residents achieve sustainable employment while strengthening neighborhood economies, will be relocating to the ThriveOn King development as a tenant partner. The organization’s community-based mission aligns directly with the ThriveOn Collaboration’s economic opportunity focus area.

With a proven model based on hope, high expectations and holistic support, JobsWork MKE helps those with significant barriers to long-term employment overcome those obstacles to find and keep jobs, advance to higher paying careers and achieve self-sufficiency.

“We have always envisioned ThriveOn King as a community hub, marshaling the will and the way to improve the overall well-being of those who live, work and learn in Bronzeville,” said Ken Robertson, Foundation executive vice president, COO and CFO, and ThriveOn Collaboration co-chair. “With its strong expertise in workforce development and connections to employers throughout Milwaukee, JobsWork MKE brings incredible new opportunities to both the physical building and the collaboration that further deliver on our promise to follow the needs and priorities that neighborhood residents have expressed throughout our visioning sessions and ongoing dialogue.”

JobsWork MKE will occupy an approximate 3,600-square-foot space on the first floor of ThriveOn King, 2153 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, the former Gimbels-Schuster’s department store being fully renovated by the ThriveOn Collaboration as a catalytic, multi-use development. The collaboration is led by the Medical College of Wisconsin, Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Royal Capital. Their work together advances five priority areas linked to the social determinants of health – housing, early childhood education, health & wellness, social cohesion, and economic opportunity – in service to a Milwaukee that is equitable, healthy and thriving for all.

“Achieving this vision requires focusing on areas and places where investment has been scarce, and on supporting Black and Brown people, who are disproportionately affected by disparities in our community,” said Greg Wesley, co-chair of ThriveOn Collaboration and senior vice president of strategic alliances and business development for MCW. “JobsWork MKE aligns with this focus and helps to fulfill a critical need by being a meaningful catalyst for economic opportunity in the community.”

Strong connections

The mission and impact of JobsWork MKE is well known to both the Foundation and MCW. Its community-based workforce development programs have received grant support from the Foundation dating back to the organization’s beginnings in 2012.

JobsWork MKE also spearheaded the Milwaukee Anchor Collaborative to leverage the everyday business activities of key anchor institutions to bring greater investment and economic impact to disadvantaged communities. MCW is one of seven anchor collaborative members focused on hiring residents and purchasing from businesses in eight Milwaukee ZIP codes where one third of the population is living in poverty.

“We are focused on providing pathways that lead people to employment and out of poverty,” said Bill Krugler, JobsWork MKE president. “Our shared success requires meeting people where they are to provide the tools and support they need to restore dignity, maintain a living wage and achieve long-term goals. So much of what we do is made possible and strengthened by partnership, so we are very excited to be connecting with community and doing this work from an epicenter of collaboration in ThriveOn King.”

JobsWork MKE joins a robust roster of tenants and features that will bring ThriveOn King to life when completed in early 2024. The historic building will be home to the Foundation’s headquarters, offices for MCW’s community engagement programs and select centers and institutes, an exemplar early childhood education center operated by Malaika Early Learning Center, a community hub for Versiti BloodCenter of Wisconsin, community gathering spaces, healthy food options, public art and mixed-income housing for families and seniors.