My 2021 budget expands on Dane County’s successful conservation and job skills training work with Operation Fresh Start (OFS), infusing more direct investment into workforce development and job training.
$50,000 is being included in the budget as part of a partnership to create a new “conservation graduate” crew that will work across the community, readying them for potential careers with Dane County Parks and other forestry, landscaping, agriculture, and conservation related employment fields. This new $200,000 project teams money from Dane County, City of Madison, Groundswell Conservancy, and Madison Audubon Society.
Members of the new crew will represent the diverse, underserved populations of OFS. They will receive the experience and training necessary to pursue a career in the green industries of conservation and forestry.
I’m putting $2 million in my 2021 budget to help the Urban League of Greater Madison purchase a site for an economic development hub along the South Park Street corridor dedicated to supporting minority-owned businesses.
The project will be modeled after the Sherman Phoenix project in Milwaukee, an entrepreneurial hub in the Sherman Park neighborhood providing high-quality commercial space and support for small businesses. I believe it is critical to “go bold” and demonstrate decisive leadership when opportunities like this emerge to address disparities and improve economic justice.
Projects like this will not only directly address disproportionate unemployment and underemployment rates among African Americans in this community, it is also the ideal project for the new economy that will emerge after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Madison’s Black Community needs more than economic opportunity. It also needs a central place to gather, network with fellow Black professionals, and celebrate culture. My budget includes $810,000 to help organizers pursue and acquire land on the south side for the Center for Black Excellence and Culture.
This development will foster a sense of community and family, celebrate and teach about impactful Black culture, help nurture and develop Black business and community leaders, connect employers with talented Black professionals, and most certainly become a new cultural landmark along the Beltline corridor.