Mariam Maldonado at the Urban League’s
Employment & Training Center on Gammon Road
ULGM Opens Training Center in
West Madison
Targeting Poverty
the Urban League offer. And while the training center is set to open in 2018, the need for employment and training services exists now. In
response to the need, the Urban League established an employment & training center at 658 S. Gammon Road on the second floor.

It is the responsibility of Mariam Maldonado, the outreach & intake manager for the center, to bring west and southwest side residents into the
center that holds a computer room, a training room and a couple of offices. It is a task that Maldonado is well-suited for because she remained
engaged in community life until she got her lucky break.

“I was volunteering at the Catholic Multicultural Center for six years,” Maldonado said. “I had an office there, but I didn’t get paid for it. When
the position opened at the Urban League, I went through the requirements and said, ‘Wow, that’s what I am doing now.’ I was very eager to
apply. I went through a very lengthy interview process. And then I got the job.”

At the Urban League, Maldonado was an employment & training supervisor developing the curriculum and teaching in their Foundations and
computer certification classes. Dr. Anthony was watching.

“He recognized the work that I was doing, so he put me in charge of the enrollment process,” Maldonado said. “I upgraded the enrollment
process. It went from people taking three-weeks to get enrolled to being enrolled in two days. We were doing it in person and in meetings. Now
it is more online and in one-on-one interviews. When I finished that project, he offered me the job to do the outreach at this office.”

In essence, within the space allotted, the west side office is a miniaturized version of the Urban League offices on S. Park Street.

“We did surveys and we asked people about what services they need over here,” Maldonado said. “They say they need a place where they
can use the computers to apply for job. Some of the other centers with computers have limited hours or the hours are shared with the kids
when they get out of school. It’s not a place where they can go and submit applications and is staffed by someone who can help them. I think
the needs are financial services training for adults who want to open their kid’s account to save money when they get that first job. They come
here for a place where kids can come and do different things and be safe. We are trying to get games classes where they can come and be a
part of it and get some knowledge at the same time. Adults need a place where they can come and apply for jobs and get information on job
openings. If you want to work, we’ll place you in a job because of the connections that we have built with employers. We do a lot of pre-
screening to make sure people are job ready. I link them with an employment specialist and they do what is called a needs assessment. After
we have an overview of that person, we recommend services. If we recognize that all you need is a life-sustaining job, we’ll connect you with
that job. But if you need to learn some skills so that you are qualified for that job, we’ll teach you.”

As time goes on, the Urban League will be offering a variety of its training programs at the center. Several programs just completed their
spring sessions and will be starting back up this summer.

“We will be starting another Foundations class on June 18th, Maldonado said.” In July, we have a START program for six weeks. We’ll have a
Work Skills Training class starting here in July. We’ll also have the CLASS Education Academy that we do with the Madison school district for
four weeks in July as well. In September we’ll have an industry training class. We are always looking for partners from different industries to
work with. With the computer and Trades Academy, we accept people up until the first day of training. For the Workplace Skills Training for the
certification, we accept people through the first week of training because there is a lot of online work and you can catch up. For CLASS, it’s a
similar process to getting hired because of our relationship with the Madison school district, if you go through the training and complete all of
the requirements, we can almost guarantee you a job.”

Maldonado, who is fluent in Spanish and English, is excited to introduce the southwest and west side residents to the real opportunity that the
center provides.

“The computer training takes two weeks,” Maldonado emphasized. “The training takes place Monday-Thursday because we encourage people
to apply for jobs. Our computer class is Computers for the Workplace. We teach you how to use a computer to make money on it. You learn
how to type, how to create memos, how to do data entry. If you get a job while you are in the class, then we work with you online so that you
can get the certification. When we assess that people are ready, we try to connect them with employment.”

It’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up.

For more information about the West Madison Employment & Training Center, email Mariam Maldonado at
mmaldonado@ulgm.org or call her at
608-720-1222. For more information about Urban League training programs, visit
www.ulgm.org.
By Jonathan Gramling

When one thinks about poverty, one’s thoughts may focus on the traditionally-
mentioned economically-challenged areas in the Madison area like Allied Drive, the
reality is that there are pockets of poverty that exist across the Madison area. While
in large cities like Chicago, these areas may stretch for miles, in Madison, they may
run for a block or two.

While the west and southwest sides of Madison may be known for the West Towne
Mall, spacious houses and exclusive subdivisions, there are also pockets of
poverty that exist in this area including Theresa Terrace, the Meadowood area and
spots on Gammon Road.

And as the need has grown on the west and southwest sides, the city of Madison
entered into an agreement with the Urban League of Greater Madison to develop an
employment and training center in the old Griff’s Restaurant across from Elver Park.

Last summer, Dr. Ruben Anthony Jr,, the Urban League’s CEP could be found at West
Madison events surveying residents on the kind of services they would like to see