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NBA legend working with Milwaukee’s young adults to prepare them to get jobs

February 26th, 2018

It is mid-morning Saturday and National Basketball Association legend Sidney Moncrief is standing in a room deep inside Employ Milwaukee’s office near North 27th Street and West North Avenue blowing his whistle and yelling out instructions.

But Moncrief and his wife, Takisha, are not coaching a youth basketball team. Instead, the pair are working with a group of about 30 young adults, helping to improve their soft skills that will be important in their efforts to get a job. The students range in age from 16 to 24, with many part of the Milwaukee Jobs Corp Center.

“Stand up straight and speak clearly and loudly,” Moncrief tells the group lined up in two straight lines as they practice introducing themselves.

Takisha tells the group that employers get a general impression of a person within seconds of meeting them, and “that can determine whether they hire you or not.”

The Had2SOAR College and Career Readiness Forum was put on Moncrief Game Change, the training firm run by Sidney and Takisha, which has put on similar seminars in other cities around the country, including at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Friday.

The bottom line for Sidney Moncrief is to get the students, who are either juniors or seniors in high school or juniors and seniors in college, ready for that job interview and to keep that job after they secure it.

It is likely very few of the young professionals were aware of Sidney Moncrief‘s incredible success in the NBA, where he spent 10 years with the Milwaukee Bucks and was a five-time NBA all-star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year.

“Soft skills are vital to their success,” said Sidney Moncrief, listing showing up daily, showing up on time, speaking with a clear and loud voice and speaking with confidence as keys for the young adults to be successful.

Sidney and Takisha Moncrief’s work is seen as part of the solution when it comes to solving Milwaukee’s skills gap, where there are hundreds of jobs available in Milwaukee-area suburbs and many city residents looking for work.

This is an issue that has escalated in recent months with the announcement of plans by Foxconn Technology Group to build a $10 billion manufacturing plant in Racine County and hire up to 13,000 workers.

It may have been a small group of young adults that the Moncriefs were working with, but preparing each to be successful in today’s world is another step toward solving the region’s working shortage.

About a dozen Milwaukee-area professionals, including myself, were invited to speak to the group during the four-hour training about what employers look for in hiring employees and to offer advice on their presenting skills. Others included Jim Paschke of the Milwaukee Bucks, Nafessa Jackson of ManpowerGroup, Johnny Craig II of Milwaukee Area Technical College and Brian Lammi of Lammi Sports Management.

There were practice interviews, lots of questions and much advice offered on everything from having a positive attitude to a strong work ethic to creating a personal brand.

I came away impressed with the young adults in the room. They were attentive, asked good questions and took advice. One even wore a suit and tie as a way to impress those of us who may hire him in the future.

Takisha Moncrief said they hope to hold similar events several times a year in Milwaukee. She said they are looking for business support and volunteers to work with the young adults.

“We know we can make a big difference,” said Takisha Moncrief, who worked for four years for Milwaukee Public Schools. “These young adults want to be successful. We just have to help give them a chance.”

Courtesy of Milwaukee Business Journal

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