MATC’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts come together

New office at Downtown Milwaukee Campus a welcoming, inclusive space

Mark Feldmann,

October 14, 2022

New DEI office opening

MILWAUKEE – A place to connect. A place to belong. A place to rest. A place to dream.

A newly-opened Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Downtown Milwaukee Campus will be all that and more for the college’s diverse student population, administrators said.

MATC leaders, including President Vicki J. Martin, Ph.D., and Chief DEI Officer Eva M. Martinez Powless, Ph.D., staff and students gathered on Wednesday, Oct. 12, to celebrate the opening of the new space in Room 281 of the M Building.

“It’s important that we have a central location, a center, a hub, where all students and staff can feel included and a sense of belonging at any time,” Dr. Martinez Powless said. “We received support and leadership from many people to make this happen. The president’s council and cabinet really supported this from the beginning and I am so thankful for that.”

See photos from the ribbon cutting event

The new space has a small lobby and a large room ringed by couches and tables where employee affinity groups and student organizations can meet, Dr. Martinez Powless said. There are several offices and cubicles, along with a conference room. The college’s Title IX officer has space there, as well as the DEI coordinator, and staff members working on the college’s Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) initiative, she said.

“Many, many people asked for this space, wanted this space and worked hard to make this space a reality,” Dr. Martin said. “This place is a welcoming area. A place where students and staff can feel like they belong. When they feel that belonging, they don’t feel isolated and connect more. When they connect more, they become more engaged and more successful.”

The college is always working to break down barriers that stand between students and their academic and career success by providing a safe place where differences are valued and celebrated, Dr. Martin said. 

In the summer of 2022, the college completed a 5-year plan to improve the college’s DEI climate and experience for both employees and students, and enhance the institutional commitment to DEI. Part of that plan was to establish a physical DEI office. 

Room M281 will serve as a temporary quarters for the college’s DEI efforts. Permanent offices are expected to open next summer in the S Building, which is currently being renovated, Dr. Martinez Powless said.

“This is a space where we can come together, a place where anyone can come and feel that they are important,” Dr. Martin said. “A place where they can communicate. A place to rest, a place to dream.”

ABOUT MATC: 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 — many that prepare students for jobs immediately upon completion and others that provide 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.