As first published by Molly Snyder,

Milwaukee is revered as a “working class” city and a local, not-for-profit organization called WRTP | BIG STEP strives to ensure it remains that way.

WRTP | BIG STEP is a Wisconsin-based training partnership and skilled trades employment program. The group’s mission is to – pun intended – build ladders of opportunities so more people qualify for family-sustaining jobs in construction and manufacturing. At the same time, they collaborate with construction and manufacturing businesses to provide long-term hires who will enhance and diversify their workforce.

Sounds like a win-win, right?

To raise funds for their work, WRTP | BIG STEP will host “Cheers to Careers” celebrity mixology fundraiser on Thursday, Sept. 30 from 5 to 8:30 p.m at Bottle House 42, 1130 N. 9th St.

The event, sponsored by Duwe and Walbec Group, will feature industry talent competing to mix the best signature cocktail and raise the most money for greater inclusivity, equity and opportunity for industrial workers and employers in Wisconsin.

“Bartenders” include Mike Stern, who works as a senior project manager at J.H. Findorff and Son. (As a representative of a large building company, Stern should really consider naming his drink the “Get Hammered” since the “Screwdriver” is already taken.) Elmer Moore, the founding executive director of Scale Up Milwaukee, will also be behind the wood concocting an innovative mocktail.

Other celeb bartenders include Cheif Marketing Officer for the Milwaukee Bucks Dustin Godsey (obviously he’s going to make an Ouzo-based drink called “The Giannis”); Nadiyah Groves who serves as the Director of the Milwaukee Office for Governor Tony Evers; and Matt Waltz from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL).

General admission tickets for Cheers to Careers are $100 and include samples of the cocktails and the chance to vote in the competition. Reserved group tables are also available starting at $500 and include entry in a Cocktails To Go raffle and a professional group photo.

To find out more about tickets and/or how to make a donation to WRTP | BIG STEP, go here.

“WRTP | BIG STEP is paving the way to make sure everyone has a pathway to a family-supporting career.  We are curious and courageous people who boldly work toward building impactful connections between people and industry in innovative and equitable ways that reinforce the systems and tools that build America’s middle class,” says Lindsay Blumer, President and CEO of WRTP | BIG STEP.

Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP) was originally created in the 1990s to recruit younger people to the skilled trades after the industry experienced a worker shortage. In 2002, WRTP partnered with Building Industry Group Skilled Trades Employment Program (BIG STEP), and today, the two groups work together as one organization to help employees obtain the skills and experiences that employers need.

This is the first Cheers to Careers event.

“Cheers to Careers is the best and most direct way to make a difference in our community.  We are able to directly put funds to work to get people into family-sustaining careers,” says Blumer. “This exciting evening is about having fun and celebrating all the ways WRTP | BIG STEP and our amazing partners come together to measurably make an impact in Milwaukee.  If you care about what’s happening in the world of work, if you want to learn more about how workforce is changing and if you want to be a partner in the solution this is the event for you.”

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