Skip to Content


Milwaukee's Summer Youth Employment Initiative


Main Content

About earn & learn

Earn & Learn is a summer youth employment program started by former Mayor Tom Barrett to prepare young people in the City of Milwaukee to enter the workforce through authentic work experience with local businesses, nonprofits, and community and faith-based organizations. Earn & Learn's mission is to support young people in their transition from adolescence to adulthood by providing an opportunity to develop practical workforce skills.

According to a 2018 report by The National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 13 percent of young people are neither in school nor working. Additionally, a US Conference of Mayors survey found that 51.6% of employers had no interest in hiring young adults, even when assisted by agencies that gather work-ready individuals. The lack of educational and workforce experience coupled with the highly competitive job market creates substantial barriers in young people's pursuit of employment and competitive wages.

Former Mayor Tom Barrett made a priority of creating hope and opportunities in the lives of young people in Milwaukee and the Earn & Learn Program does exactly this by empowering young people to take charge of their future. Not only does the Earn & Learn program advance the lives of young people, but it is also a key factor in strengthening our communities and local economy.

Earn & Learn employees

Program Eligibility

Youth living in the Metro Milwaukee area between the ages of 14-24.

Cindy Anderson
CWE Coordinator
Employ Milwaukee

CWE | Community Work Experience

The Earn & Learn Community Work Experience empowers young people to take charge and start building their professional future. Youth will earn $12.21 per hour for 20 hours per week during the intensive seven-week summer work experience. Employ Milwaukee is the administrating agency and receives funding through the Mayor’s Fund to provide a quality a summer job to young people. This initiative helps develop essential workplace skills including professionalism, effective interpersonal communication, punctuality, and problem-solving skills.

Apply Now

Program Eligibility

Youth ages 16-19 years old.

Vanessa Armstrong
Department of City Development (DCD)

SYIP | Summer Youth Internship Program

The Summer Youth Internship Program (SYIP) component of EARN & LEARN is a specialized work opportunity where youth are assigned to various work assignments in departments within city government through exclusive funding from the City of Milwaukee's Community Development Block Grant funding. SYIP provides youth hired by the program with a 8-week work experience. They receive a subsidized wage rate of $15.00 per hour for 20 hours each week for a maximum of 160 hours during the summer work cycle.

A strategic partnership with ManpowerGroup, the lead employer partner for SYIP, provides invaluable support to the administration of the program. ManpowerGroup provides a host site for interviews, volunteers to conduct interviews, and process all payroll for SYIP youth in the program. The Department of City Development acts as the lead administration team for the SYIP component of EARN & LEARN.

Fund earn & learn

Donate Now


Milwaukee Area Workforce Funding Alliance
Routing: #075900575
PO Box 1452
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Mayor's earn & learn Hope Heroes

Corporations & Foundations

  • A.O. Smith Foundation
  • AT&T Foundation
  • Bader Philanthropies
  • BMO Harris
  • Briggs & Stratton
  • Curtis Universal
  • Greater Milwaukee Foundation
  • Harley Davidson
  • Herb Kohl Charities
  • Herzfeld Foundation
  • HNTB Corporation
  • Johnson Controls
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Lalonde Contractors
  • Manpower
  • Milwaukee Public Schools
  • Northwestern Mutual Foundation
  • Palermo Villa Inc.
  • PNC Foundation
  • Rexnord
  • Terra Engineering
  • The Concord Group
  • Wangard Partners
  • We Energies
  • Zilber Family Foundation

All Stars

  • Anon Charitable Trust
  • Brewers Community Foundation
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Milwaukee Bucks Foundation

Private Donors

  • Cindi & William Broydrick
  • Sara Fobes
  • Katherine Gehl
  • Mark Nicolini & Basilisa Virella