Launched in 2017, the At-Promise Resident Training Program is an initiative of the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM) that provides low-income HACM residents with a new pathway to self-sufficiency. The program builds upon the stability of HACM’s quality, affordable housing by also offering on-the-job training, life skills development, and post-secondary education that together can transform residents’ lives. At-Promise provides motivated residents with the opportunity to overcome barriers that could otherwise keep them locked into a cycle of poverty.
The name of the program stems from a realization that HACM’s Secretary-Executive Director, Tony Pérez, had several years ago. “Many of our young people are perceived as ‘at-risk’. I chose to call them ‘at-promise’ instead. The idea here is how many of these promises will go unfulfilled, not because these individuals didn’t try, but because no one lent a helping hand,” explains Pérez. “We can be that helping hand.”
The program starts with an informational session for residents who meet basic qualifications: residency with HACM, personal or professional references, and a preferred 2.3 GPA. From there, 25 applicants participate in interviews with members of HACM's leadership team, and then six individuals are selected to be part of an At-Promise class.
The final six complete a nine-week, paid training course that is geared toward assisting them in developing life skills. These individuals then work up to 20 hours a week for HACM in various positions for up to two years. They also further their education by enrolling in an academic program at a post-secondary educational institution. To help with the cost of education, they receive a $2,000 HACM Scholarship and up to $1,500 in tuition reimbursement per calendar year. In addition to the job skills and educational support, they begin developing a social and professional network that can provide them with support throughout their At-Promise journey and beyond.