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Children's Wisconsin Milwaukee

Children’s Wisconsin joins collaborative to boost diverse hiring and purchasing

Children’s Wisconsin has joined the Milwaukee Anchor Collaborative which has the goal of increasing hiring and corporate spending in Milwaukee’s lowest-income zip codes.

The collaborative is comprised of major health care and educational institutions in the region, all who have pledged to hire more people of color and spend more with minority-owned businesses in targeted zip codes. 

“This is a major commitment by those with the power to make a significant difference,” said Bill Krugler, president of JobsWork MKE (formerly Milwaukee JobsWork), a nonprofit that organized the collaborative. “We’re excited and optimistic this will help lift more people out of poverty and revitalize neighborhoods that have been neglected for too long.”

In anchor collaboratives, which are forming in cities nationwide, members commit to using their collective economic power to employ residents, and purchase from businesses, in disinvested neighborhoods. 

The Milwaukee collaborative launches with seven institutions: Advocate Aurora Health, Ascension, Children’s Wisconsin, Froedtert Health, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

"These anchor institutions already have demonstrated they have the economic power, and commitment to our community, to make a positive impact. Now, working together, their impact will be even greater," said Timothy Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. 

“The Milwaukee area health systems are experiencing a great demand for qualified employees and, concurrently, are committed to increasing the diversity of their workforce at every level of their organizations,” said Joy Tapper, executive director of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership. “The health systems also are eager to purchase more goods and services locally, from a diverse supplier network, to strengthen the economic well-being of the community. The Milwaukee Anchor Collaborative will help them meet these shared goals.” 

The collaborative will focus on hiring residents, and purchasing from businesses, in eight Milwaukee zip codes: 53204, 53205, 53206, 53208, 53210, 53212, 53216, and 53233. The combined population is 206,000, with 33 percent living in poverty.

The anchors are currently setting goals to significantly increase employment and spending in these zip codes. They expect to announce details this fall.

JobsWork MKE spearheaded the creation of the collaborative. The nonprofit prepares its participants — people living in poverty — to achieve economic self-sufficiency through sustainable employment.

“People in the target neighborhoods need jobs and employers need people to fill their open positions,” said Rodney Moutry, director of the Milwaukee Anchor Collaborative. “Our focus is to identify and prepare people to fill these jobs and establish careers. It becomes a win-win.”

The anchor institutions seek to fill a wide range of high-demand, mid-skill positions — from phlebotomist and medical assistant to facilities maintenance and administrative assistant. 

The anchors also are joining forces to purchase services and supplies, ranging from janitorial and mechanical to medical equipment repair and IT. 

“With their combined purchasing power, they could support and help grow a wide variety of businesses, such as a commercial laundry or a supplier of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment),” said Moutry. 

Research shows anchor collaboratives across the country are making significant impacts in their communities. The Milwaukee Anchor Collaborative is based on these successful models.