MATC Selected to Help Advance Racial Equity in Manufacturing

College one of 13 institutions that will work to create racially inclusive future for business and industry

Mark Feldmann,

February 08, 2022

MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee Area Technical College will share its experience and expertise in a national effort to make manufacturing more racially diverse.

MATC is one of 13 community colleges recently selected by The Century Foundation (TCF), the Urban Manufacturing Alliance (UMA) and eight urban workforce development organizations concentrated in the Midwest to work on the project, called Industry and Inclusion 2.0. 

The colleges, selected through a competitive process and funded by Lumina Foundation – a national philanthropy focused on equity and educational attainment – will collaborate to devise solutions to bolster the nation’s manufacturing sector, develop credential-based training programs to create a more racially inclusive future for manufacturing, and deepen relationships between employers and communities.

“MATC is thrilled to be part of this alliance,” said Becky Alsup, dean of the college’s Manufacturing, Construction & Transportation Pathway. “There are so many great jobs with family-sustaining wages for people of all backgrounds. We look forward to seeing how we can advance the talents of our community members of color and our local employers here in the Milwaukee area.”

Manufacturing capacity has been growing rapidly and accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. But even before the pandemic, federal estimates indicated that the United States needed an additional 2.4 million manufacturing workers over the next decade.

Manufacturing’s resurgence presents an opportunity to open the sector’s well-paying jobs to more workers of color, many of whom faced unemployment during the pandemic at disproportionate rates. 

“Community colleges are uniquely positioned to connect more people, particularly people of color, to well-paying and sustainable jobs, such as those in the manufacturing industry,” said Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at TCF and one of the organizers of the coalition. “Our coalition will work to align credential programs at community colleges with the industry, and to ensure that a more diverse workforce feels supported and is able to take advantage of such opportunities.”

MATC serves as a diverse talent pipeline and economic growth engine for the Milwaukee area, with the college, students and alumni generating $1.5 billion in economic impact to the region annually.

At MATC, 82% of learners gain employment within six months of graduation, and 77% of graduates choose to work within the region. The college partners with more than 900 employer advisors to ensure that MATC maintains top quality programming and industry applicable curriculums.

“Manufacturing provides much-needed opportunities for equitable economic development in American cities,” said Lee Wellington, executive director at the Urban Manufacturing Alliance and co-organizer of the coalition. “The past few years have underscored the importance of local production ecosystems, from producing essential personal protective equipment to responding to increased demand for energy efficient materials, and much more.”

Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 25,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 170 academic programs; and transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.