University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Employment and Training Institute


NPR examines how court-ordered license suspensions unfairly 
target the poor
NPR: Guilty and
Charged (7 min.)

BBC magazine story
BBC on Wisconsin's
high black male
incarceration (5 min.)

Beloit College blacklivesmatterbeloit
Institutional Racism
and the Black Body (2 hr.)

UW School of Medicine and Public Health Video Library
Learning from Milwaukee
and Ferguson (50 min.)

Michelle Alexander speaks to 1,800 at MATC
Media prison discussions

Black men in prison logo
WUWM special series

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel news
Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel news

Milwaukee WPA Handicraft Project Online Exhibit
WPA online exhibit

Current Research

A majority of those jailed for failure to pay municipal judgments are not employed at the time of booking. In a “catch-22” scenario, municipal courts often deny Wisconsin residents unable to pay or delinquent in paying court judgments for municipal citations their right to drive for two years -- jeopardizing workers’ employment options and placing them at risk in the criminal justice system if found “driving while suspended." Thousands of low-income Milwaukee teens of color failing to pay fines on municipal violations (even if unrelated to driving) are barred from getting their driver’s license for two years.

Mass Incarceration Studies

Wisconsin's rate of imprisoning African American men in state prisons and local jails was the highest in the U.S., according to 2010 Census data. Mass incarceration is statewide, with half of African American men in their 30s having served time in prison, according to Wisconsin Department of Corrections public inmate files (1990-2012).

The state's total prison population more than tripled since 1990, fueled by increased federal and state funding for prison construction and drug enforcement (rather than treatment), "truth-in-sentencing" laws replacing judicial discretion, concentrated policing in minority communities, and state incarceration for minor probation and supervision violations.

Workforce Investment Reports

ETI collaborates with the NAACP, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, City of Milwaukee, and non-profits to identify job training opportunities and needs for men of color in the Milwaukee metro area. Federal EEO reports and state apprenticeship and occupational licensing records are used to monitor progress. ETI job openings surveys, conducted since 1993, assess the number and type of jobs available and the level of skill training employers need to fill openings in the Milwaukee region.

Driver's License Employment Research

ETI studies have shown the driver license to be essential for getting and keeping employment and exceeding high school completion as a predictor of sustained employment. Yet, the highest numbers of unlicensed drivers are African American men in their prime early working years with suspensions for debt collection issues rather than for unsafe driving. ETI is working with Wisconsin Community Services, Milwaukee Public Schools, the City of Milwaukee, and local funders to restore universal driver's education for Milwaukee teens.

Analysis of Wisconsin driver's license records showed wide disparities in rates of licensing for African Americans and Latinos compared to Whites, particularly among young adults. The ETI research was cited by the federal court in its decision to stop DMV-issued photo ID requirements for voting in Wisconsin and also considered by the federal appeals court overturning the decision.

Neighborhood Indicators

The Milwaukee neighborhood indicators reports were developed by ETI with funding from the Helen Bader Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Foundation and the City of Milwaukee to provide independent, timely and ongoing assessment tools to measure short-term and long-term progress toward improving economic and employment well-being of families in central city Milwaukee neighborhoods. ZIP code 53206 serves as a bellwether for poverty changes, mass incarceration, foreclosures, driver's license issues, and Boys and Men of Color organizing in Milwaukee and nationally

Publications | Child care | Discrimination | Drilldown tools | Driver's license | Job openings surveys | Housing crisis | Housing integration | Neighborhood indicators | Prison issues | Reprints | School-to-work | Voter ID | Welfare research | Workforce training | WPA history

Employment and Training Institute
School of Continuing Education
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee