Full-Ride Scholarship Provides Tuition, Books, Supplies Along With Support and Care

Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, MATC officials urge students to apply for the Ellen and Joe Checota MATC Scholarship Program before January 5, 2024

Mark Feldmann, feldmam1@matc.edu

November 28, 2023

Checota Scholarship

With the Checota, I was seen and I was heard. At MATC, I feel supported. They walk the walk and talk the talk.

Gabrielle Armon-Wickers MATC Financial Services student and Checota Scholarship recipient

MILWAUKEE – After someone busted into her car and stole all her textbooks, Gabrielle Armon-Wickers knew Milwaukee Area Technical College had her back.

Thanks to her full-ride scholarship from the Ellen & Joe Checota MATC Scholarship Program, the financial services student got another set of books almost right away.

“With the Checota, I was seen and I was heard,” Armon-Wickers said. “At MATC, I feel supported. They walk the walk and talk the talk.”

Armon-Wickers is one of more than 400 MATC students who have received help from the Checota MATC Scholarship Program, which is designed to help students earn a short-term certificate or diploma and get into the workforce within 18 months. The scholarship covers tuition, course fees, books and required supplies/equipment, child care, food, transportation, and student housing, if needed.

On Monday, November 27, MATC administrators and students, along with Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson, urged current and prospective MATC students to apply for a Checota Scholarship by January 5, 2024, so they can start as early as the Spring 2024 semester. 

“I know there are obstacles out there,” said Mayor Johnson, who was the first person in his family to earn a college degree. “But there are doors open. You just need to walk through those doors.”

“With good-paying jobs, families, neighborhoods and our city can achieve stability,” Johnson added. “This program brings students closer to that stability.”

See TV coverage of the event

In August 2022, longtime Milwaukee residents Ellen and Joe Checota committed a charitable gift of up to $5 million to the MATC Foundation Inc. to initially fund the scholarship — the largest scholarship investment in the college’s history.

The Checotas are matching gifts 2-to-1 on any donation or pledge (two years or less) to this scholarship aimed at accelerating the talent pipeline.

“Every time we raise $500,000, they contribute $1 million,” said Laura Bray, MATC’s vice president of college advancement and external communications and executive director of the MATC Foundation Inc. “This is a real opportunity for students to access life-sustaining careers.”

The MATC Foundation, which is the college’s philanthropic partner, awarded 400 full-ride scholarships during the 2022-23 academic year to MATC students and more than 200 students have already graduated from the scholarship’s 90+ eligible technical diploma and certificate programs.

“Our number one priority is helping students overcome financial barriers,” said MATC President Vicki J. Martin, Ph.D. “The Checota scholarship has already changed lives.”

It has certainly changed the life of Demetrius Bradford Jr., a scholarship recipient enrolled in MATC’s Electrical Power Distribution program. “This scholarship removed the worry about paying for college,” Bradford said. “You get coaches and advisors so you can stay on track and stay mentally stable. College is a stressful time. Checota takes care of you.”

Yeng (Cloud) Tha Vue, enrolled in MATC’s Front-End Web Developer program, completely agreed. 

“MATC has a friendly environment that accepts people of all backgrounds,” said Vue, who is Hmong. “I am happy that I chose MATC as my college. The support is overwhelming. I have all A's in my classes and that is thanks to the academic support and the instructors.”

Anthony Owens got his High School Equivalency Diploma from MATC in May 2022, enrolled at MATC in the fall of 2022, received a Checota Scholarship and graduated in May 2023 with a technical diploma in Diesel and Powertrain Servicing. Today, he works at GFL Environmental Inc. repairing and maintaining heavy-duty waste removal vehicles and earning $33 an hour.

Owens said his daughter graduates high school in May 2024 and turns 18 in July and he will encourage her to apply to MATC. 

“Getting this is worth it,” said Owens, who had a turbulent upbringing and spent time in prison three times before coming to MATC. “These days, I don’t have to risk my life anymore. I’m all about doing the right thing.”

Apply for a Ellen & Joe Checota MATC Scholarship

Make a donation to the MATC Foundation Inc.

About the MATC Foundation Inc.: MATC Foundation Inc., an independent, nonprofit organization incorporated in 1979, is the philanthropic partner of Milwaukee Area Technical College to support students’ success and their role in the region’s economic vitality. The MATC Foundation creates affordable, accessible paths to family-sustaining employment through large-scale, career-focused scholarships and other vital student financial support programs such as assistance with books and supplies and quick-turnaround emergency grants. By collaborating with civic leaders, employers, community partners and MATC alumni, the Foundation’s work ultimately promotes economic opportunity for MATC students, their families and our entire region. Fully 100% of donations are directed to students and initiatives that benefit them.

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. Nearly 28,000 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 180 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.
Checoat Scholarship