Building The Future Together

Progressive Community Health Centers is confronting the challenges of Milwaukee’s Central city health care environment by expanding their Lisbon Avenue Health Clinic, located at 3522 W. Lisbon Avenue. They have outgrown their current space and have hired Hunzinger Construction Company to serve as Construction Manager on their new $11 million facility. This new three-story building, designed by HGA Architects and Engineers, is currently under construction next door to its current location and will open in February of 2015. It will increase Progressive’s capacity to service a community desperately in need of health care services. The new facility will be 42,000 square feet, compared to the current 8,500 square foot facility.


The expanded clinic features 24 primary care rooms, 13 dental suites, three specialty care exam rooms, six OB/GYN exam rooms, administrative office space, phlebotomy lab, health education center, and a partially finished basement that can be built out for future expansion needs.

Monique Charlier of Rivet, LLC serves as the Owner’s Representative on the project that has received funding from a variety of sources including a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, $500,000 from the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership, $100,000 from the City of Milwaukee’s CDGB funds, $25,000 from the Elizabeth Elser Doolittle Trust and a private donation of $2 million from Froedert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, as well as, utilizing new market tax credit financing.

The project also has established small, minority and women owned business contracting goals as well as local workforce hiring goals. Contracts totaling at least 25% of the total construction costs must be awarded to S/M/WBE firms. Hunzinger Project Manager Dan Davies continues to project utilization of 34% SBE and 37% M/WBE firms. This determination was made after the project was bid out and he began the process of scoping and awarding contracts.

Prism Technical Management and Marketing Services, LLC has been retained by Hunzinger to track the monthly expenditures to ensure that project goals are met. To date diverse firms that have been utilized on the project include Prism, Rams Contracting, Arteaga Construction, B & D Contractors, Sonag Redi-Mix, Heider & Bott, Express Insulation, Affirmative Supply and Hurt Electric. As the project ramps up throughout the summer other diverse firms will be added.

As the onsite work progresses, Prism staff is tracking both the contracts and the workforce for hours to ensure that workers on site are being paid at least $10.50 per hour and that the local workforce requirements are being met.

For this project, Progressive really wanted to have a positive impact on the neighborhood surrounding the clinic and, as a result, established a Local Workforce Utilization Requirement that at least 10% of the labor hours of the work be performed by workers that reside in the following Priority 1 Zip Codes 53208, 53210, 53206, 53205, 53233, and 53203. These Zip Codes surround the clinic site. Subcontractors have to show and document legitimate efforts to check for available workers with either WRTP/BIG STEP or their respective union hall. If a subcontractor is unable to find a qualified worker(s) within the Priority 1 Zip Codes, the next step would be to check the Priority 2 Zip Codes. These codes are 53212, 53216, 53218, and 53225 and are adjacent to the Zip Codes bordering the clinic. Again, subcontractors have to show and document legitimate efforts to check for available workers with either WRTP/BIG STEP or their union hall. If a subcontractor is still unable to find an available worker(s), they may use the Priority 3 boundary which the rest of the City of Milwaukee.


To date, 15.6% of all on site hours being performed by Priority #1 residents. Priority #2 residents make up 4.9% of the workforce and 27.4% of the project onsite hours have been worked by City residents.

Keeping with Progressive’s desire to positively impact the neighborhood, Hunzinger brought WRTP/BIG STEP onto our team to assist with meeting the workforce goals. The WRTP/BIG STEP is a workforce intermediary serving the construction industry in Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin. The primary role of the WRTP/BIG STEP on the project is to ensure the availability of a qualified and skilled workforce, and to promote active involvement of the community as needed. The WRTP/BIG STEP has exceptional preparation, education, and training programs in place, and has the capacity to assist the trades and contractors with direct recruitment of candidates.

To get the word out to the community and to kick the job off correctly, Hunzinger coordinated and sponsored a Community-wide Information/Recruitment Meeting for the project with our partners, Prism and WRTP/BIG STEP. The meeting was held January 8th at Our Next Generation on 34th and Lisbon Avenue. Possible construction employment and training opportunities, as well as, providing information about immediate job openings in the field of manufacturing were presented.

Over 100 people attended the event held at 10 AM on a frigidly cold day. There were 63 people who provided their names and contact information on the event sign-up sheet. John E. Anderson II, a Career Coordinator, and his assistant at WRTP/BIG STEP continue to follow up with phone calls to all the folks that signed in by scheduling them for job training sessions, getting people RPP certifications, helping to get driver’s licenses back, getting them into the appropriate assessments and even getting people into manufacturing opportunities that are immediately available. Results have been positive with about 35 people utilizing WRTP/BIG STEP services to pursue getting back into the workforce.

Hunzinger also keeps an “interested in employment on the project or at the clinic” sign-up sheets, along with a contact WPTP/BIG STEP information cards available at the front desk of the clinic and in the construction trailer. We check the sign-up sheets regularly and refer/direct the people who have signed up to WRTP/BIG STEP for training or directly send their contact information to project subcontractors for potential hiring. We have had steady communication with our subcontractors with good results referring 75 8 individuals to date.

We are really proud to say that this project is having a positive effect beyond the initial construction project because we have been able to make training and employment connections beyond construction jobs. This project is helping people access effective and comprehensive job training and employment opportunities that they would not have known existed. Workers are getting RPP certified, working on getting their driver’s licenses (usually a job requirement), and completing their GED’s to begin accessing job opportunities. We are really grateful for this opportunity to have such a positive impact in the neighborhood.

On May 15th, WRTP/BIG STEP held their Annual Open House and Achievement Awards Ceremony and Hunzinger Construction and Progressive Community Healthcare/Lisbon Avenue Clinic received the Community/Industry Partnership Award. The event was attended by many local union and political leaders as well as representatives from numerous construction companies. Mayor Barrett, Alderman Murphy, State Senator Lena Taylor, were all in attendance and offered their congratulations. It was a nice event and it was an honor to have our project recognized.