Coming Together to Understand Each Other

MATC hosts WisCORE, state-wide discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion

Mark Feldmann,

November 16, 2022

WisCORE 2022

MILWAUKEE – Making society – and college campuses – more diverse, more equitable and more inclusive takes teamwork.

To help make that goal a reality, about 200 students, faculty and staff from Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges gathered at Milwaukee Area Technical College on November 10 and 11 for the second Wisconsin Technical College System Conference On Race and Ethnicity (WisCORE).

At the two-day event, which featured guest speakers, breakout sessions and student panels, participants connected, conversed and collaborated on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) issues and initiatives.

“DEI is here, and it is here to stay,” said Janixa Franco Gonzalez, a student at Waukesha County Technical College who participated in a student panel. “We need to embrace it and get to know people on a deeper level. When we embrace our differences, we can be stronger together.”

“DEI allows us to learn from each other,” said Rosa Faustino, a student at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay and another panel participant. “We can take off the blinders and see things in ways we never thought about.”

“WisCORE stems from an annual national event on DEI topics called NCORE. The aim of the state conference is to have a system-wide conversation about DEI, connect students and staff to form a state-wide equity and inclusion network, increase awareness of disparities in communities, workforce, and education and build momentum for campus-wide DEI initiatives,” said Eva Martinez Powless, Ph.D, MATC’s Chief DEI Officer.

“For all of us, this is not just a job, it’s a personal mission,” Dr. Martinez Powless told the attendees at the opening session.

For Dr. Martinez Powless, it’s a highly personal mission. She came to the United States as an immigrant when she was 12. She was a single mother at 18 and had to work full-time while attending college. Eventually, she became the first person in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and doctorate.

“I am a brown woman,” she said. “I faced the racism and exclusion so many others have felt. All those identifiers who describe me ––immigrant, single mother, worker ––form the work I do every day. After this, each of you can walk out this door and help move this important work forward.”

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.