Our Mission

WRTP/BIG STEP is a 501(c)3 nonprofit workforce intermediary dedicated to connecting people to family-sustaining jobs.

Our mission is to enhance the ability of public and private sector organizations to recruit, develop, and retain a more diverse, qualified workforce in construction, manufacturing and emerging sectors of the regional economy.

By being industry led, worker centered, and community focused, WRTP/BIG STEP helps under-employed, under-served, and under-represented individuals succeed in well-paying careers while exceeding industry’s workforce needs.

The Latest

DRS Technologies Recruitment – April 3!

Download the flyer here.

Union Construction Career Fair – March 14!

Download the flyer here.

MC3 Class Gets Hands-On Training

Our MC3 class is helping out our office, measuring walls to calculate how much paint is needed and stripping off old wall paper, all under the supervision of a journey painter.

Success Spotlight: Lues Jimenez

“You have to keep perfecting yourself, making yourself better. I wanted a better future; a better career.” Before going through the Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) Apprenticeship Program, Lues was working an entry level job at Renaissance Manufacturing Group (RMG), but wanted to work his way up in the company.

Read more here.



WRTP presents at the Building Workforce Partnership Conference in Sacramento

WRTP receives award from National Skills Coalition

Mark Kessenich, President &  CEO of WRTP/BIG STEP, received an award with the National Skills Coalition in Washington D.C. last week. He was recognized for the work he does as a member of the National Advisory Panel. He helps develop and advance the coalition’s policy agenda.

Check out our new “Partners Opportunities” Page!

We have a lot of great partners, and we do our best to inform our clients of all the opportunities out there. To do more, we created a page dedicated to opportunities being offered by our partners. If you click on the button in the left side column on this page, you can go straight to the page! Or you can go to www.wrtp.org/partner-opportunities/ to access the page.

WRTP/BIG STEP mentioned in Urban Milwaukee

“Because the project received a $54 million developer-financed tax-incremental financing district, Northwestern Mutual was required to have 40 percent of project work hours completed by unemployed or underemployed city residents. Also, the project was required to have 25 percent of the project’s costs completed by certified Small Business Enterprises.

Northwestern Mutual exceeded both of those requirements. The company achieved a 43.5 percent rate on the Residents Preference Program requirements and a 31.4 percent rate on SBE hiring.

Workers received training through employment agency WRTP/BIG STEP. Prism Technical Management & Marketing Services administered the project’s RPP compliance.”

Read the full article >>>

WRTP/BIG STEP mentioned in Capital Times

“Big Step recently partnered with the Madison Metropolitan School District for Career Pathways In Construction. Over the course of two weeks, Big Step brings trade workers to Madison’s four comprehensive high schools for a day of hands-on learning in trades like plumbing and electrical work for middle and high school students.”

Read the full article >>>

Semester-Long MC3 High School Class Begins

The next cohort of MC3 high school students, around 30 in total, has just begun the semester-long program. Through a partnership with the Milwaukee Bucks, MATC, Employ Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools, Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council, and WRTP/BIG STEP, the students will be certified in MC3, which is an apprenticeship readiness program.

The MC3 Apprenticeship Preparation program is a certified program of the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) and sponsored locally by the Milwaukee Building & Construction Trades Council (MBCTC) in partnership with local Trades & Apprenticeship Committees and WRTP/BIG STEP.

WRTP/BIG STEP & Literary Services of Wisconsin Form Unique Partnership

Recognizing that the lack of a high school diploma is often a barrier to those interested in pursuing a career in the construction trades, WRTP/BIG STEP and Literacy Services of Wisconsin created a unique partnership to overcome this barrier.


Graduating Our First Class of HSED-MC3 Graduates

It is well documented that 39% of students in Milwaukee schools are not graduating each year. In Milwaukee, 19.8% of the population age 25 and over have not completed high school and 9,000 young adults are added to this group each year. To address this issue Literacy Services of Wisconsin and WRTP/BIG STEP designed the PI 5.09 High School Equivalent Diploma (HSED) program, which also enrolls participants in an apprenticeship readiness program (the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum), helping them break into the construction and manufacturing fields. The instruction is tailored to students’ individual abilities and goals and customized to the employer’s specific qualification standards utilizing WRTP/BIG STEP’s employer partnerships to further chances for advanced employment. This competency-based HSED, which is approved by the Department of Public Instruction, provides participants with an integrated, seamless path to follow toward earning one of the many manufacturing or construction jobs looming on the horizon in Southeast Wisconsin.

Gilbane Building Company Celebrates Grand Opening of Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons in Milwaukee

“The Tower and Commons construction began in 2014, and local community impact was a high priority for the team from day one. Early on, Gilbane worked closely with the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP/BIG STEP), Milwaukee’s Office of Small Business Development (OSBD), the Milwaukee Building & Construction Trades, local affinity groups including the ethnic chambers of commerce, and other key stakeholders who support and engage local and small construction firms and related services.”

Read the full article here.

“Milwaukee Bucks Retrain Jobless Workers to Build New Arena” – Association of Equipment Manufacturers

“The Bucks have also encouraged contractors on the project to launch their own workforce development initiatives for local residents, including a two-week “construction trades boot camp” sponsored by drywall, plastering and painting contractor Wall-tech.

Wall-tech president Pete Braun tapped the expertise of jobs services agency WRTP / BIG STEP to orchestrate the program with a dozen trainees from the Milwaukee community. Upon completion of their training, he hired all 12 to work as apprentices on the Bucks arena project.”

See the full article here.