About HIRE

At United Way of Dane County, one of our primary goals is to get more people and families on pathways out of poverty, and we know that employment is a key piece to that puzzle. So, in 2013, we launched the HIRE Initiative – a free program which focuses on helping adults prepare for and find steady employment. By working with 6 local partner agencies and 50 local employers, we’ve been able to help more than 3,000 people find reliable work in our community!

0 %

Of HIRE participants (or 378 individuals) landed jobs earning $15/hour or more in 2020.


HIRE participants have received a promotion at their place of work since 2013

0 %

of 2020 HIRE participants were people of color

How it Works

In Dane County alone, we know that more than 12,000 people over the age of 25 do not have a high school degree – limiting their annual earning power drastically. We also know that many jobs go unfilled because employers can’t find workers with the right qualifications. So, we start with education.
Through our partnerships with Centro Hispano of Dane County, Just Dane, Latino Academy for Workforce development, Urban League of Greater Madison, Literacy Network and YWCA of Madison, we connect participants with the resources they need to earn a diploma and/or go through industry-specific training. We offer opportunities for paid training hours for folks who are taking time away from their current jobs to gain new skills and/or for those who cannot afford to wait until they have a job to receive income.
The HIRE Initiative aims to break down barriers that exist for people who are in need of steady employmnet. So, thanks to generous donations from our community, we’re also able to offer:

A Child Care Subsidy

so that participants can afford care for their children while they’re working or learning new skills to secure and maintain employment.

Housing Funds

so individuals have a resource to help them pay for moving expenses, security deposits and utility bills as they work towards a brighter future.


for participants who have emergency needs. These $750 loans are interest-free, with the expectation that they’ll be repaid within a year.

How to Become a HIRE Participant

If you’re looking for some assistance to kick-start your career, we’re here to help.

We offer a way in to many different industries, including corporate/administrative, construction, food service, healthcare and more. Simply click on the button below, fill out the form and someone will be in touch to help you set goals and find the right program for you.

Call 211 or contact Bill.Clingan@uwdc.org for more information.

How to Become a HIRE Employer Partner

At United Way of Dane County, we work solely with employers that value diversity and are committed to helping individuals succeed at their company.

Retention, culture, climate, good wages and benefits are important to HIRE. Because we want to make sure we are placing our participants in a job where they are valued and given opportunities to advance within the company. To make sure our partner employers are a good fit, we offer Implicit Bias, Cultural Competency, Mental Health First Aid and Trauma Informed Care training.

Additionally, we’re looking for partner employers who are willing to provide full-time, well-paying jobs (or those that pay at least $15/hour) so that our HIRE participants are truly empowered to find a path out of poverty.

Does this sound like you?

Contact Lauren Martin Senior Director, Community Impact:
Cross System Collaborations at United Way of Dane County at Lauren.Martin@uwdc.org today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of HIRE?

For job seekers:

  • It’s easy to join HIRE. Someone will help you set goals and find the right program for you!
  • You can take a test to find your current reading and math level and better understand where you’re currently at.
  • The partner agencies that make up HIRE are committed to helping you define a clear learning path.

For employers:

  • HIRE can connect you with employees who have the skills or certifications you need.
  • You can be a partner in building our future workforce and supporting the growth of our local economy.
  • You can recruit employees from more diverse groups – helping your company to have a more well-rounded workforce.
  • As part of our effort to break down barriers that exist for people who are in need of steady employment, we also offer a child care subsidy, housing assistance and micro-loans.
  • You’ll be a part of collaborate efforts to increase equity in employment.

Anyone 18 years or older can participate! If you want education and training to help you get a job, this is the program for you.

The HIRE Initiative is completely free. No strings attached.

  • Literacy
  • Basic math
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Strong work ethic
  • Ability to plan your work schedule and effectively prioritize tasks
  • Cultural competency, or respect for people who are different from you

HIRE can help you in each of these areas – we want to position you to succeed in your career, so you can be on the pathway to success each one of us deserves.

We know that 12,000+ adults in Dane County do not have a high school diploma, which makes it difficult for them to find a job and earn family-sustaining wages. Additionally, Dane County has been grappling with racial disparities in education and employment for decades – and our Black, Indigenous and people of color are most negatively impacted by that. It’s time that we tipped the scales. That’s why we started HIRE! Because we know that when people have better-paying jobs, they can provide for themselves and their families, which benefits our entire community.

Agrace HospiceCare
Alliant Energy
American Family Insurance
Baker Tilly
Cairasu Home Care
Cintas Corporation
City of Madison
Cleary Building Corporation
CUNA Mutual Group
Dane County
Dane County Sheriff’s Office
Food Fight Restaurant Group
Hottmann Construction
Hy Cite Enterprises, LLC
J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.
Madison Gas and Electric
Meridian Group Inc.
Middleton-Cross Plains School District
Paul Davis Restoration
Quartz Health Solutions
ReSCI Consulting, LLC
Reynolds Transfer & Storage
Roundy’s Distribution
Senior Helpers
Stevens Construction Corp.
Summit Credit Union
The Cap Times
The Employer Group, Inc.
The Human Resource ResourceTM
The QTI Group
UnityPoint Health – Meriter
UW Credit Union
UW Health
Veridian Homes
WEA Member Benefits
Wisconsin Power and Light Company
WPS Health Solutions
Zimbrick, Inc.

Lauren Martin, Senior Director, Community Impact: Cross System Collaborations.

Email: Lauren.Martin@uwdc.org