Mayor Barrett Announces Earl Buford to Succeed Donald Sykes as MAWIB President and CEO


Mayor Tom Barrett recently announced Earl Buford as the new President and CEO of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB). Buford succeeds Donald Sykes who has served in that capacity since 2006.
“I’m pleased Earl will be the new President and CEO of MAWIB. He takes over MAWIB at a time when quality workforce development has become increasingly important to the region. It’s my expectation Earl will continue to lead the organization in the positive direction that Don has initiated,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “Don took us through a very important transition and has created a solid foundation. He has done an incredible job building partnerships and identifying funding opportunities. We are most grateful for his service and wish him the best in his retirement.”
Buford has been at the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP/BIG STEP) for fifteen years, and is currently serving as President. Under Buford’s leadership, WRTP/BIG STEP has received many recent accolades, including praise from the White House.
Sykes oversaw the transition from the Private Industry Council to MAWIB in 2006, changing the strategic vision of the organization. As a result, MAWIB has dramatically increased its capacity to serve job seekers and work with the business community. Additionally, the organization’s funding has been diversified and partnerships increased. 
“Don has done an outstanding job as President and CEO of MAWIB. We are incredibly appreciative of his service,” said John Kissinger, MAWIB Chairman of the Board. “Earl’s experience and commitment to workforce development make him the perfect fit for our organization. I am confident he will continue to build upon MAWIB’s successes, as well as Don Sykes’ legacy.”
“I am honored to be taking over for Don Sykes. He is an icon in the community,” said Earl Buford, MAWIB President and CEO Appointee. “I look forward to working collaboratively with the business community, and economic and community development stakeholders.”
MAWIB is a highly effective and efficient organization focused on coordinating workforce development for Milwaukee County. It is the largest of eleven workforce boards in the state. Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) were created through federal legislation and are appointed bodies, certified by law, and given the ability to set policy, guide implementation, and provide oversight to the local workforce development system. WIBs provide a forum for planning workforce development strategies.
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