ETI Publications

Document Type

Technical Paper

Publication Date



In 1970 the Labor Department called for a “Milwaukee Plan” that over five years would bring the number of African Americans employed in skilled construction jobs proportional to their percentage of the population (i.e. 11-12% in the city of Milwaukee and 6-7% in the four-county area). As an alternative, the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council worked with the Milwaukee Urban League to create a Labor Education Advancement Program (LEAP) that helped bring 104 African American apprentices (or 9% of the total) into the trades as of 1973. In the past forty years the minority population of the Milwaukee metro area has grown considerably. Milwaukee is now a “majority-minority” city (and 39% African American) and yet the number of African American apprentices has dropped to 75, a decline from 204 in 2007. This paper assesses the components for a possible 2013 “Milwaukee Plan.” Specific racial goals for employment of workers of color were essential to the concept of the 1970 DOL hiring plans with proposed timelines, sanctions for noncompliance, and committed funding for training. To ensure similar implementation outcomes in 2013 the state Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards would need to be restructured into a more effective oversight agency charged with and held responsible for monitoring apprenticeship training, affirmative action compliance with state and federal contracts, and enforcement of non-discrimination in hiring and on-the-job activities.