MATC program helps adult students finish what they started

Hi Friends,

I know we all will be taking a well-deserved break for the holidays. As we approach the end of another impactful year for Milwaukee Succeeds, I am so very grateful and inspired by all of your passion and commitment to our children and young people in the City of Milwaukee. We are doing so many great things to improve the quality of educational outcomes for our children!

This week special guest Johnny Craig, Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management for Milwaukee Area Technical College, is sharing a wonderful program MATC has presented to our community. I urge that you tell a friend, neighbor, and share this awesome opportunity with your networks!

Take it away Johnny,


What is Adult Promise for 53206? What is the significance of selecting 53206 as the target zip code?

MATC’s “Commit to Complete” is an expansion of the MATC Promise. At its core, “Commit to Complete” is about changing lives and improving the quality of life for Milwaukee citizens through education. As we look to pilot the adult version of our MATC Promise we are starting the program in the “53206” zip code. This zip code has one of the highest incarceration rates in North America, so what better place to start making a difference in Milwaukee. Nelson Mandela once said that “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” and “Commit to Complete” will help MATC “enrich, empower and transform lives”.

Who is eligible to apply for the Adult Promise?
“Commit to Complete” is focused on helping students finish what they started. For the pilot, eligible students must live or work in the 53206 ZIP code; have earned at least 24 college credits; have not completed an associate or higher degree; have not attended college in the past two years; meet Federal Pell Grant eligibility and have independent status; and should pursue a degree in a program tied to in-demand careers. Students who have 18 college credits and experience in the workplace, military or government, may be able to receive up to six credits for prior learning to meet the minimum required for this grant. Additional special consideration is also given to students pursuing a degree connected to education.

Has this “Commit to Complete” approach worked in other cities around the country?
The adult Promise is a relatively new concept. One model we’ve examined is Tennessee Reconnect, a statewide program passed and launched earlier this year. State officials estimate that 900,000 Tennesseans have at least some college but no degree and are considered prospective adult learners. This population is seen as key to increasing the overall share of state residents with a college degree. MATC is similarly recognizing the need for postsecondary education in order to to succeed in most career opportunities. We are helping people who started college complete their degree and position themselves for a stronger, more stable future.

What has the initial reaction been to this generous offer? Are there stories or profiles of people what have already applied?
The community reaction and support for “Commit to Complete” has been amazing. Many of our partners recognize the importance of filling the skills and equity gap in our community. Our neighborhood events have allowed the MATC team to meet potential students in their environment, as we support and encourage them to complete their degree. To date we have over 40 applicants, and we are excited about the impact this expansion of the MATC Promise will have on Milwaukee residents.

How do you feel MATC’s mission and vision aligns with Milwaukee Succeeds?
Our work is closely aligned. Milwaukee Succeeds focuses on educational success “cradle to career” and MATC is proud to provide the critically important final link between education and career for thousands of Milwaukee-area students every year. We play that key role both for students coming direct from high school and, in the case of our Commit to Complete, initiative, with adults seeking a more sustainable, stable career. Ultimately, both MATC and Milwaukee Succeeds are invested in ensuring education prepares students for career success. More than 90 percent of MATC graduates are employed within six months of graduation and, for students interested in pursuing further education, we offer transfer partnerships with more than 50 four-year colleges and universities. We look forward to continuing to work together with Milwaukee Succeeds and our other partners to transform our community.

Look back, reach back, give back,

Johnny Craig
Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management
Milwaukee Area Technical College

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