MILWAUKEE (July 12, 2011) – ArtWorks for Milwaukee, Inc., a nonprofit organization that is helping develop the city’s future workforce, will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a donor/volunteer appreciation event Thursday, July 21 at the organization’s Walker’s Point headquarters. The event will feature preview of upcoming changes in the Artworks program, in addition to success stories from Artworks interns and live music. Artworks for Milwaukee is located at 706 S. 5th Street.
“We strive to make a difference in lives of the teens we serve, in producing job-ready teens for our business community,” said Vanessa LaCoste, board president of ArtWorks for Milwaukee. “Our success would not be possible without the volunteers, funders, donors, and program partners that have supported ArtWorks for Milwaukee over the last ten years! We look forward to making even more positive change in the years to come!”
ArtWorks for Milwaukee provides paid arts internships for teens with significant barriers to employment so they may develop highly transferable job skills that empower their creativity and confidence, broaden their paradigms and prepare them to enter the workforce in any industry. The organization targets Milwaukee youth that need this critical training most. Since its inception in 2001 the organization has hired and trained over 400 interns from throughout Milwaukee County in over 70 unique programs. Of the responding Interns ArtWorks hired, 100% stay in school and/or graduated and 34% secured a job after their internship.
After reflecting on the progress ArtWorks has made over the last decade, the Board of Directors developed a new strategic plan to enhance the current programming model and provide increased employment training, serving even more young people through a graduated program model. The organization is very excited to enact the three year plan and provide employment training for even more teens in the Milwaukee community. This vision for growth is needed to keep up with the demand of underserved teens who need ArtWorks’ help transitioning into the workplace.
From the beginning, the organization has focused significant effort on evaluating interns’ performance throughout each eight week program by utilizing self-evaluation, lead artist feedback, and formal performance evaluations. Intern performance is based upon key 21st century skills, including creativity & innovation, critical thinking & problem solving, communication & collaboration, initiative & self-direction, social & cross-cultural skills, productivity & accountability, professionalism and fundamental job skills such as attendance, preparedness, and uniform compliance. At the mid-point of each program, interns may earn a pay increase based upon their strong performance.
ArtWorks’ program evaluation process is designed to mimic best performance practices used in companies today. “I am proud to say that our processes for collecting performance data and assessing results are highly realistic for our interns; they truly get exposure to what it will be like out there in the real world of work,” said Artworks’ Executive Director Meghan Koven. “These processes are also extremely valuable for our organization, as we are able to pinpoint any learning gaps our interns may experience and quickly react to address them to continuously improve our programming model.”
This summer ArtWorks for Milwaukee has hired 16 interns that are working on the following art-based projects; “Mosaic Window To your Community” with Lead Artist Nicole Lesser & “Safe and Sound Spoken Word” with Lead Artist Dan Vaughn. Throughout the eight week program, ArtWorks for Milwaukee interns blog about their experience, sharing their accomplishments and personal feedback. Follow the eight week summer program by visiting,http://www.blogger.com/profile/08797376105962157560. The interns’ artwork will be unveiled at the Safe Place Block party on Saturday, August 27th from 12pm to 4pm. The family friendly event is located at ArtWorks for Milwaukee (706 South 5th St., Milwaukee, 53204).