Mr. Speaker, I rise to pay tribute to Antonio M. ``Tony'' Perez, recipient of the 2011 Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award. Mr. Perez is a long-time social justice advocate, mentor, community leader and consummate professional. He currently serves as secretary-executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee (HACM). The Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award acknowledges residents whose efforts most embody the social justice and public service values and vision of former Mayor Zeidler, who died in 2006 at the age of 93.
Mr. Perez' body of work has been exemplary. He founded the Milwaukee Community Service Corps (MCSC), a non-profit vocational training organization that continues to provide employment and education to young adults in Milwaukee. It was modelled after the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). Mr. Perez developed a holistic program that integrates education and life skills with on-the-job work experience for low-income 18-23-year-olds. During his tenure at MCSC from 1991 to 2000, more than 900 participants found jobs and received more than $4.5 million in income. MCSC serves an average of 100 young participants per year and has served approximately 2,000 young adults since its inception.
In 1996, Mr. Perez was one of six inspirational youth role models and mentors profiled on PBS', ``The Merrow Report: Searching for Heroes''. Mr. Perez serves on a number of prestigious committees and has received numerous awards including member of the Executive Committee of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, past president of the National Association of Service and Conservation Corps, and has served as a consultant to the Peace Corps. In 2006, HACM received the prestigious World Leadership Award in London, England for developing solutions to housing that are innovative to city leaders around the world. Also, in 2007 Mr. Perez was recognized by the National Child Labor Committee with the Lewis Hine Award.
At HACM, Mr. Perez oversees an internationally-recognized agency that provides affordable housing options for over 12,000 low-income families, elderly and disabled persons in the City of Milwaukee. During his tenure, the agency received or leveraged more than $265 million in development resources. Accomplishments while at HACM include the construction of the $28 million Milwaukee Job Corps Center in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor. The facility opened in the fall 2010 and has resulted in the creation of over 125 administrative, teaching, health care and service jobs. Additionally, during his tenure the City of Milwaukee obtained a five-year, $24 million federal Enterprise Zone grant that helped thousands of youth gain training and employment.
Mr. Speaker, I am proud Antonio M. ``Tony'' Perez hails from the 4th Congressional District and that I can call him friend. I am honored to give praise to his many accomplishments and life time commitment to youth and the entire Milwaukee Community. I wish him many more years of success.
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