As posted by Spectrum News 

MILWAUKEE — One Milwaukee non-profit is committed to bringing more diversity into the trades industry.

The Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership, also known as WRTP | BIG STEP, works to help traditionally underrepresented and underemployed people like women and people of color.

The program has helped many people like 21-year-old Dwayne Sampson. After finishing high school, Sampson knew he wanted to get into the trade industry. He started after graduating and is now in his fourth year of his sheet metal apprenticeship.

He works with Langer Roofing in Milwaukee. He said he was able to kickstart his career at such a young age, thanks to WRTP | BIG STEP.

“They don’t just teach you about construction in this program, they teach you about life skills,” said Sampson.

Regional Director, John Anderson, said the goal is to help individuals get into family supporting careers. The organization provides individuals with access to education, training, and job placement opportunities.

“I am an advocate of post-secondary education,” said Anderson. “But here’s the thing, in college you pay them and apprenticeship, it pays you.”

Anderson said he wants to encourage young people to really consider a job in the trade industry.

“We do not charge anyone a single dime for our services,” he said.

Sampson said if it wasn’t for WRTP | BIG STEP, he wouldn’t be where he is today.

“They taught me what it’s like to get into the workforce world,” said Sampson.

WRTP | BIG STEP services individuals in Madison, Kenosha, Racine, Walworth County, and Milwaukee. To learn more about the organization and how to get involved, visit

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