President & CEO
Employ Milwaukee, Inc.
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Industry: Workforce Development Board
Chytania Brown started her career in the corrections and parole sector, working with juvenile offenders. She found a calling in working with teens and young adults in need of guidance and shifted to a role as a youth program coordinator with the Private Industry Council, which was eventually renamed Employ Milwaukee.
Employ Milwaukee is the workforce development board serving Milwaukee County. The agency’s primary mission is to connect job seekers to employment opportunities, provide education and training in high-demand sectors and provide a skilled workforce to help build diverse businesses.
Over the past 20 years, Brown rose through the ranks at Employ Milwaukee, taking on new challenges and responsibilities. She now serves as the agency’s president and CEO, a role she started on the same day that Gov. Tony Evers issued a stay-at-home order as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Chytania led a primarily forward-facing organization wherein the bulk of program operations were conducted in person into a primarily online, virtual service-delivery model essentially overnight at the outset of a global pandemic,” her team said.
Brown oversaw the creation of the Drive-Thru Job Fair, where job seekers would drive their cars through fast-food-like outdoor stations in parking lots where job and resource fairs were conducted. Job seekers would drive up, receive a kit of 25–60 employment opportunities and then drive off in keeping with social distancing protocols.
She also helped to create the Community Resource Navigator program during the pandemic to provide training and employment opportunities to those laid off for COVID-19-related reasons. Those in the program earned $17 per hour for six months, working with community-based and faith-based organizations and domestic violence and homeless shelters. They distributed information to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, helped with contract tracing and delivered medicine, food, clothing and supplies to older and at-risk individuals. Some of the 500 people enrolled found permanent employment as a result of the skills and experience they acquired in the program.
“I consider myself to be a creative and innovative person always looking for another way to expand the work we are doing in this workforce development lane,” Brown said. “My belief is that workforce development exists in all we do, regardless of industry. We just have to imagine it differently.”
Brown is a Milwaukee Business Journal 2021 Woman of Influence Award winner. She recently attended the MENTOR Awards Celebration in New York to accept Employ Milwaukee’s 2022 Amplify Award for the agency’s work with young people in the Influencing Systems, Workforce Award category.
“I remain committed to helping my city become ‘One Milwaukee’ by expanding relationships and partnerships across all industries to ensure that the community and stakeholders that I serve are best positioned to make this city the greatest place in the state to live, work and play,” Brown said.
Chytania's most favorite beverage is an ice-cold Mountain Dew soda.