Wisconsin Department of Commerce Newsletter
July 2004
CBED Program Facilitating Multi-Organizational Cooperation
In recent months, Community-Based Economic Development (CBED) program staff have been spearheading efforts to develop a joint project between Milwaukee-based Homeboyz, Inc. and Madison-based Asset Builders of America. Homeboyz, Inc. provides opportunities for young adults from troubled backgrounds to receive vigorous training in the areas of computer programming, tech support and web design. After completing the educational portion of the program, participants are able to gain real-world experience in their chosen areas of specialization by working with the non-profit technology services business operated by Homeboyz, Inc.

The Homeboyz organization, and the impressive results it has shown in opening up career and educational opportunities to the youth of Milwaukee, came to the attention of CBED staff person Doug Thurlow in May of this year. Since that time Doug and fellow staffer Jeff Ellerbach have been working to develop a Madison branch of a Homeboyz-style organization. An obvious starting point for this project was Asset Builders of America. Asset Builders has a number of programs designed to teach financial literacy, investment fundamentals and entrepreneurial skills to at-risk youth in the Madison area. A current CBED award recipient, Asset Builders has been working with Doug to expand the scale if the organization's operations within Madison as well as in the Milwaukee area.

The goal of ongoing meetings for this new joint venture is to develop a plan for narrowing the natural intersections of the goals of Homeboyz, Inc. and Asset Builders of America. That is, to combine financial and entrepreneurial education with a program teaching the youth of Madison and Milwaukee (and eventually across Wisconsin) the skills they can use to venture into the economy both as vital, well-paid employees and as entrepreneurs in their own right.

Great progress has been made on this front and numerous other partnership opportunities have presented themselves in the process. Jeff will lead the effort to work with both Asset Builders of America and Homeboyz, Inc. in the coming months. Through these efforts they hope to redefine the potential for further non-profit cooperation throughout the state, both as a way to combat shrinking budgets caused by economically turbulent times and with the goal of continuing the nationally recognized history of excellence boasted by Wisconsin's network of non-profit and community-based organizations.

--Jeff Ellerbach

The newsletter is issued electronically every other month.

Please send comments or questions to Barbro McGinn, editor.

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