GTS has established a reputation for helping the community. Our little family business has donated so much time and material to help transform five run down houses in the City of Milwaukee into nice places to live. Together with Milwaukee Works and the Neighborhood Improvement Project (NIP), these houses were transformed over the summer of 2011. The transformation of these houses was very challenging and frustrating to say the least. Part of that frustration was due to the extremely tight budget of the City of Milwaukee.
This is what Joseph Farmer had to say about it. “… for example; we would be putting in new receptacles throughout the house. Every time we would open up the boxes to see what was in there, we would find something that made the job 3 times more complicated than just changing a receptacle should be. The big thing was that the wires were corroded and needing to be replaced. So, we would have to do it, but we were not paid for it. We only were paid for simply changing the receptacle. So, I would just out of good conscience, threw in a bunch of extra stuff just so that the people were not buying something that is not electrically sound.”
After the transformation of the first house was complete, the city of Milwaukee asked if GTS would continue to be their electrical contractor. Knowing that we would not make much money but feeling great about helping others, GTS said yes.
Also last summer, we did a similar sort of project that was again staffed by Milwaukee Works at the Oneida Indian tribe’s community center in Milwaukee. More from Joseph Farmer, “It is actually a really cool old building. It was originally a firehouse way back when horses pulled the fire trucks. They added on to the building and put in a couple of classrooms and a computer lab. GTS was the electrical contractor for that project. With all of the Milwaukee Works projects, I’m not supposed to lift a hand to do any of the actual work. I just tell the trainees what to do, how to do it and supervise them, but I am not supposed to do the work. This is actually somewhat frustrating at times.”
Neighborhood Improvement Project (NIP) is a program that assists eligible owner occupants in repairing their homes. All repairs are based upon municipal building code violations, lead hazard reduction, health and safety concerns. NIP is not a remodeling program.
Milwaukee works is a program that is helping thousands of very low-income families who are at extreme disadvantages for finding employment gain skills and re-enter the workforce. These people are paid not by the company who hires them but rather through funding from the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act and other sources. This allows employers a source of no cost labor while they grow their businesses. More importantly, it gives the employers a chance to evaluate their performance and consider them for employment when a position opens up.
If GTS had enough work, there are a couple of people from the Milwaukee Works that we would offer a job. On each of these projects there are 6 guys and out of those 6 there are 2 and maybe a 3rd who get it, they understand, they like the work and they are full of all kinds of potential. The others are just there just because it is a job.
This is our third time working with people from Milwaukee Works. The people who did the rough were there for the whole time we were there. Now on the finish, one group started it and a different group is going to be completing the finish.