Mark Kessenich

/Mark Kessenich
Mark Kessenich2019-02-28T17:02:05+00:00


President & CEO

Mark Kessenich is President & CEO of the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership / Building Industry Group Skilled Trades Employment Program (WRTP/BIG STEP) – a non-profit workforce development intermediary serving Wisconsin’s Manufacturing and Construction industries.

Mr. Kessenich joined the staff of WRTP/BIG STEP in November of 2011 and in July 2014 was named President / CEO. Prior to WRTP/BIG STEP, Mr. Kessenich served for 12 years as Director of Development & Planning for Employ Milwaukee.

Mr. Kessenich is well regarded as a national expert on workforce development. He has served as a speaker, consultant, and technical advisor to a number of public and private workforce development organizations across the Midwest and nation, including the International Foundation, the Sector Skills Academy, AFL-CIO Working for America Institute, NABTU and Jobs For the Future. Mr. Kessenich currently serves as an advisor to the Construction Labor Management Council of SE Wisconsin, and the Construction and Manufacturing Industry Advisory Boards of Employ Milwaukee.

Mr. Kessenich serves on the National Skills Coalition – National Advisory Panel, the Council of State Governments -Wisconsin Re-entry Task Force, the State of Wisconsin Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards Advisory Council, and is a past Board Member of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals.

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.
WRTP was initially created to renew our traditional industrial base in the Milwaukee area during the 1990s. The recovery of manufacturing, retirement of an aging workforce, and diversification of the regional economy created a growing skills shortage by the end of the decade. In response to this threat to economic growth and prosperity, we created our successful model of pre-employment training for job seekers to qualify for family-sustaining jobs in the industrial sector.
Supported by public, private, and philanthropic investments, WRTP | BIG STEP’s mission is to assist economically disadvantaged minorities, women, and youth (primarily from the central-city) develop the skills needed to participate meaningfully in the workforce and share in the area economy while ensuring that member companies have the skilled workers needed to prosper and grow in a competitive global economy.


Jan 22, 2019

In partnership with the Wis DOT, local stakeholders, the WI Fast Forward Grant and the Walbec Group (which is the parent company of Payne and Dolan and Zenith Tech), I am excited to announce the upcoming training opportunity and recruitment date of January 22 for the next Racine class. The Walbec Group will be assisting with recruitment, screening and training and will be sourcing Spring 2019 hires from this training cohort. Class will start 1/28/2019 and will run through 3/8/2019 and will be held Monday-Friday 8 am to 4 pm. The locations for training will vary from the Racine Gateway Campus, Gateway iMET Center and training centers in the area.

Click here for more information


Jan 23, 2019

WRTP/BIG STEP, in collaboration with the Ironworkers Local 383, are recruiting qualified candidates for the Ironworkers Apprenticeship Program. Please come to the Ironworkers Recruitment and Informational session to learn more about the Ironworkers trade and apprenticeship opportunities within the union. Contractors and union representatives will be present to answer your questions. Applications for the Ironworkers Apprenticeship Program will be available during this session.

Click here for more information