MILWAUKEE, WI (July 16, 2020) — WRTP/BIG STEP welcomes Sheila D. Cochran as the Interim President and CEO. WRTP/BIG STEP is a nationally recognized workforce intermediary dedicated to connecting people to family-sustaining jobs in the manufacturing, building, and construction trades, serving Southeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Madison, and parts of Minnesota.

WRTP/BIG STEP’s Board of Directors extended the invitation to Sheila Cochran in the best interest of the organization’s continuity; Ms. Cochran will be a dedicated facilitator in the search for the organization’s next leader. “I am personally humbled and honored to return to serve an organization that I feel passionately about,” said Ms. Cochran in an official statement. “I have always believed to whom much is given, much is expected. I will give WRTP/BIG STEP all that I can going forward.”

Sheila Cochran had previously served on both boards of WRTP and BIG STEP simultaneously and was elevated to the Co-Chair position from 2010 to 2017, working with the organizations as they merged operations to form the current entity of WRTP/BIG STEP. Ms. Cochran has been an active member of the organized labor community for more than 40 years and holds awards from esteemed organizations such as the UAW Civil Rights Council, Milwaukee Area Technical College for Services & Dedication, and the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists; she was also a 2007 recipient of the Black Excellence Award in Community Leadership, among other accolades. Currently, Ms. Cochran serves on the Board of Directors for United Way and Employ Milwaukee.

“We are thrilled that Sheila agreed to fill the role of interim President & CEO and welcome her back to our organization,” said Pat Stiff and Anthony Rainey, Co-Chairs of the WRTP/BIG STEP Board of Directors, in an official statement. “In the time we worked together on the Board, and knowing what she has accomplished in the community over many years, we have come to know her passion for the work WRTP/BIG STEP does and her overall passion for helping the Milwaukee area be a better place to live and work. She has our full support and we look forward to her leadership and continuing our mission in this role.”


WRTP/BIG STEP is a 501(c)3 nonprofit workforce intermediary dedicated to connecting people to family-sustaining jobs. Our mission is to enhance the ability of public and private sector organizations to recruit, develop, and retain a more diverse, qualified workforce in construction, manufacturing and emerging sectors of the regional economy.

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