Commentary by Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave: To capitalize on Foxconn, we need everyone
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Commentary by Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave: To capitalize on Foxconn, we need everyone

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We want everyone in Racine County to benefit from Foxconn’s historic investment in our community.

And to fully capitalize on that investment, we need everyone.

That especially includes residents who have struggled to enter or stay in the workforce. Over the last few years, the economic picture in Racine County and the City of Racine has undoubtedly brightened. But too many have been left behind, unable to share in the region’s success.

In the coming days, I will be holding town halls in City of Racine neighborhoods to listen to residents’ concerns and ideas, answer questions, and provide information on County services and programs we feel can give a big boost to those looking to move up the economic ladder.

One town hall is a conversation with the Hispanic community. It is scheduled for 5 to 7:30 p.m. June 5 at the Cesar Chavez Community Center, 2221 Douglas Ave.

Other town halls are set for 1 to 3 p.m. June 4 at the George Bray Neighborhood YMCA, 924 Center St., and from noon to 2 p.m. June 6 at the John Bryant Center, 601 21st St.

Amid the excitement around Foxconn, the County’s focus has remained on doing all we can to put residents and businesses in a position to succeed. We’ve developed some exciting initiatives to help make that happen.

The Racine County Board this spring approved working with a group called SkillSmart to help identify and develop talent for various in-demand fields, as the company did during the Milwaukee Bucks arena project. It includes a web component – which you can find at GreaterRacineAtWork.com – that goes beyond simply uploading a resume and hoping for the best.

The platform identifies the skills people have – not just former job titles – and highlights opportunities that are a fit, as well as jobs in which a person’s skills might need improving.

If someone doesn’t have the skills for a specific job, the platform points them to training courses offered by education providers to help become better qualified. No longer are people simply discarded if they don’t immediately qualify for a job.

Racine County is also zeroing in on those with barriers to employment. Whether it’s transportation, child care, a criminal record, education or another roadblock, our Uplift 900 initiative seeks to identify residents with barriers and connect them with resources to clear those hurdles.

When we say we want everyone to be lifted up – we really mean everyone.

Whether you are unemployed, underemployed, underpaid, or just looking for a change, I strongly encourage you to attend a town hall to learn more about how you can take advantage of these programs and move toward a fulfilling career.

The town halls are also part of my commitment to engage the public on Foxconn.

Every time we are presented with an opportunity to update residents on Foxconn, we make every effort to do so. We held information sessions last fall throughout the county. I’ve held listening sessions each month in a different municipality. I’ve accepted numerous invitations to appear on panels and at forums. I’ve met regularly with Racine County school districts, held listening sessions with employers, and visited meetings of local municipal governing bodies.

These town halls further that commitment to be as open and transparent as possible — and it’s just the start. We are planning more town halls at other Racine community centers throughout the summer.

The thousands of jobs on the way to our community present a tremendous opportunity for Racine County and the City of Racine. I hope you join us as, together, we embark on an exciting new era.

Jonathan Delagrave is the Racine County executive.

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