Contractor Empowerment Initiative

Building a contracting business can be a daunting task for a small contractor. There is a web of licenses and permits, developing an effective cost accounting system, scheduling, certifications, hiring, and training procedures and more. For assistance navigating this process, call us at (414) 383-4633!

MEI Contractors Empowerment Initiative Program provides managerial and strategic planning services for a contractor to develop the capacity to perform lead abatement work in the City of Milwaukee. The program is limited to Milwaukee County contractors at this time.

The Multicultural Entrepreneurial Institute assists and provides you with technical assistance with the process of becoming a Lead Certified Company. It does not matter at which stage of the process you are. We will meet you there and guide you this technical assistance and support is at no cost to you thanks to Employe Milwaukee. This program ends on 12/31/2023.

Services at no cost to you – También disponibles en español.

• Technical assistance with formalizing your business, securing licenses or SBE/DBE/MBE Certifications. State formation costs are not included.

• Technical assistance with setting up the cost accounting system and business tax planning strategies.

• Business planning

• Orientation on how to do business with existing lead abatement work agencies

• Connecting with labor and hiring opportunities

• Connecting with training programs for your employees

• Training in basic estimating and bidding, accounting and taxation, and management.

• Assistance with the identification of the equipment financing programs and operating capital and loan packaging

• Coordinate networking activities for business opportunities


• Pay for the actual cost of your licenses, certifications, or business formation. (Review each link to learn more about the costs.)

• Pay for the lead abatement classes. PLEASE NOTE that agencies that offer the work will reimburse the company for the cost of the lead abatement training should you bid for their lead abatement work.

• Provide legal advice on contracts.

Formalizing your Business

Forming an LLC or Corporation in Wisconsin

Obtaining your Federal Identification Number

Obtaining Liability Insurance – Liability Insurance must be secured by an Insurance Agent.

Obtaining Workers Compensation – Workers Compensation must be secured through an Insurance Agent.

What is Workers’ Compensation?

Contractor Licenses – Required

Per Wis. Admin. Code § SPS 305.31, no person may obtain a building permit for a one- and two-family dwelling unless the person complies with all the following, except as provided under Wis. Stats. § 101.654(1)(b) and (1)(c)(2):

• Holds a Dwelling Contractor Certification or a Dwelling Contractor Restricted Certification issued by the Department.

• Holds or engages, as an employee, a person who hold a certification issued by the Department as a Dwelling Contractor Qualifier.

Dwelling Contractor –

Dwelling Contractor Qualifier –

Initial Training Providers – Always refer to the links above for the most recent information.

Approved Course Providers

Milwaukee Home Improvement License – License required for those engaged in installing, repairing, servicing, improving, or remodeling any permanent installation or improvement attached to an existing home or building used for residence purposes but not exceeding six living units.

Licenses & Permits

Applications to fill out,

Home Improvement

Business License Milwaukee

Wisconsin Lead Abatement

Both individual certification and company certification are required. –



Agencies Offering Work:

Social Development Commission (SDC)

Lead Safe Program –

Revitalize Milwaukee –

Contact: Monica Mercado (414) 312-7531

Neighborhood Improvement Program –

Seeking Employment Support Programs

You can find employees through Healthy Homes or you can have your employees sign up for the Absolute Advantage program which includes training in:

  • OSHA 30
  • Asbestos Abatement Worker
  • Lead Abatement Worker
  • Construction Safety
  • Pre-apprenticeship Certificate from Wisconsin Apprenticeship Systems

Learn more here.

Minority and Disadvantage Certifications

Call us at (414) 383-4633 for assistance navigating these.

Assistance Form (or for more information) / Formulario de ayuda (o para más información)

When filling out the assistance form, make sure to click SUBMIT, before exiting the page.

Cuando complete el formulario de asistencia, asegúrese de hacer clic en ENVIAR, antes de salir de la página.

Questions? Contact (414) 383-4633

¿Preguntas? Llame (414) 383-4633