Federal Work Study Internships Benefit Students and United Way


September 01, 2015


Latrina Diggs (l) and Aimee Kiel

Flipping burgers, waitressing or working as a cashier are traditional ways to work to earn money for college expenses. But MATC students Latrina Diggs and Aimee Kiel have been very fortunate to land paying internships that offer them a chance to advance their careers by working in their fields of study, while also serving a cause they feel is worthwhile. Arranged through MATC's JOBShop, they are serving as Federal Work Study interns at the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.

The federal government requires that at least seven percent of the Federal Work Study allocation from each participating college/university be spent on employing students at community service organizations. Student salaries are paid as part of their financial aid awards, benefiting the students and the community.


(l to r) Aimee Kiel, Kathy Miller and Latrina Diggs. Miller serves as a mentor and supervisor to Kiel and Diggs, who are interns at the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.

"Students get a chance to gain real world experience working for an organization they feel passionate about," said Jenny McGilligan, specialist for MATC's JOBShop. "Financially strapped community service organizations get assistance without straining their budgets. It's a win for everybody."

McGilligan places more than 20 MATC Federal Work Study students in community outreach internships each semester. She helps students identify causes close to their hearts and then tries to place them in related internships.

Interns Eager to Learn

Kathy Miller, senior account manager for the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, supervises Diggs and Kiel and interns from other colleges/universities. "I love working with interns," she said. "We run on a lean staff. I share my experience with them and interns help with many projects. They are very eager to learn and really careful. They take this very seriously. Mentoring the students brings new energy to my life and my job. It feels like a good exchange."

Kiel and Diggs both enjoy working for United Way and believe their internships are helping them prepare for their respective careers and supplementing what they are learning in their coursework.


(l to r) Kiel, Miller and Diggs discuss a mailing project.

Kiel took courses at other colleges before moving to Milwaukee with her sons, now 6 and 10. She originally enrolled in the Music Occupations Associate Degree Program but decided that was not the right fit for her, so she continued to experiment with other classes. An instructor suggested she investigate MATC's Individualized Technical Studies Program, which allows students to work with an instructor to develop a customized associate degree created by combining curriculum from a variety of programs.

She graduated from MATC in December 2014 with an Individualized Technical Studies Associate Degree in Advertising Media.

Attending MATC Turned Her Life Around

Kiel said getting her associate degree gave her self-confidence. "I always wanted to get that degree in my hands," she said. "Going to MATC turned my life around. I discovered what I wanted to do by trying different options."

She currently is enrolled in the Social Media Strategist Technical Diploma Program and is considering taking classes in the Web Designer Technical Diploma Program.


Students get a chance to get real world experience working for an organization they feel passionate about. Financially strapped community service organizations get assistance without straining their budgets. It's a win for everybody.

Jenny McGilligan student employment specialist, MATC JOBShop

Kiel works on United Way's social media accounts, as well as helping out with updates to its website. "I didn't realize how much strategy goes into social media, how much marketing is involved," she said. "I've learned so much, including how to do scheduled posts and campaign research."

She also has a job working on Milwaukee County's website. Working two jobs, raising two sons and attending college keeps Kiel very busy. Whenever possible, she takes her MATC classes online. "It's a balancing act every day," she said. "I try to stay focused. I know where I want to go in life. That keeps me grounded."


MATC's Affordability Provides Options

Fellow intern Diggs is enrolled in MATC's Marketing Management Associate Degree program. The salutatorian of her class, Diggs enrolled at MATC following her high school graduation in 2013 from Milwaukee's Alexander Hamilton High School. She said she chose to attend MATC because its affordability gave her an opportunity to try classes in multiple fields of study.

"I like marketing because there are no absolutes, there is not just one answer," Diggs said. "There are always possibilities. I hope to use my creativity." She expects to graduate in December 2015. She is considering working full-time job graduation and continuing to a four-year college or university on a part-time basis to earn a bachelor's degree.


Diggs staffed the table for the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County at MATC's Coordination Day events this summer. MATC's Lori Hains (l) and Terek Teber stopped by to learn more about the campaign during Staff Coordination Day.

Diggs works on a variety of United Way projects, including research, editing, assisting with a newsletter, organizing information, data entry and staffing booths at events. Miller also tries to help her obtain additional experience by having Diggs accompany her to meetings.

"I like the atmosphere at United Way," Diggs said. "I like working with an organization that is so close to the community. United Way is connected to everyone in the area."

MATC will run its 2015 Giving Campaign in conjunction with the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County in September and October. MATC employees may visit this link https://donor.truist.com/login.aspx?campaign=MATC to facilitate their donations.