A new partnership between Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), JCP Construction and the non-profit Social Development Commission (SDC) aims to train future construction workers and redevelop city-owned foreclosed homes, but may need additional funding to grow the program.

The idea, born out of Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference held in Milwaukee in 2018, uses an approach whereby the city sells vacant homes for $1 to an affiliate of JCP Construction. The growing firm would coordinate the renovation work. MATC students, supervised by professors, would rehab the homes.

The group will start with a home at 2606 N. Holton St. on the border of the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods. City records indicate the home, built in 1890, was acquired by the city in January via property tax foreclosure. Since 2016, the Department of Neighborhood Services has issued over 20 violations to the property, including the requirement to register a vacant property.

The program is modeled in part under another program previously operated by Milwaukee Public Schools. “When I was approached about this project I was pretty excited. We had a similar program when I went to Milwaukee Tech,” said JCP’s Jalin Phelps at a July 2nd hearing of the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee. David Polk, Associate Dean of Apprenticeship Trades and Industry at MATC, told the committee he also remembers working on a rehab house during his time at Milwaukee Tech (now Bradley Tech High School).

“You can’t just be all theory. You need some hands-on experience,” said Phelps.

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