I am saddened to have learned of the death of Don Sykes. Prior to my service at the City of Milwaukee, I worked at Employ Milwaukee which was formerly known as the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB) and headed by Mr. Sykes from 2007 until his retirement in 2014.
Mr. Sykes was committed to creating progress in workforce development for unemployed and underemployed members of our community. I believe that he wanted every person in our community to have opportunities to work and accomplish their goals because of the roadblocks that he faced in life to get quality higher education and experience upward social mobility.
His passion for service led to leadership positions locally at the Social Development Commission, as well as nationally, as a member of President Bill Clinton’s administration.
When I was a younger person seeking opportunities to work hard, get an education, and apply myself to public service, Mr. Sykes always took the time to help me find my way. That’s who Don Sykes was– a leader and a mentor who always took the time to invest in others.
Last month I visited Employ Milwaukee, and the organization is running as a fine tuned machine thanks to the foundation laid by Mr. Sykes.
May he rest in peace.