'Opening the doors to prosperity:' Area colleges partner to help close equity gap

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – A new collaboration between area colleges aims to close the equity gap and help more students of color graduate from college.

The initiative, Moon Shot for Equity, is a partnership between University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College, UW-Parkside and Carthage College.

“Wisconsin is the last in the country in terms of high school completion rate for black students versus white students and it is in the bottom seven for all Hispanic students,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “This is not a place we want to be.”

The initiative was announced during a press conference on Wednesday, October 21.

“We have to keep working to eliminate those equity gaps in course completion rates, retention and graduation,” MATC President Vicki Martin said.

The initiative aims to give everyone the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed and graduate from college. The schools are working with the company, EAB, to help put in new practices like making sure credits correctly transfer from two to four year schools and providing equity skills training for more than 400 employees. Another goal is to use technology to reduce bias.

“The Moon Shot for Equity partnership will generate more college graduates in less time, with less money and with improved career outcomes, for all students, regardless of socioeconomic status or racial status,” President of Carthage College John Swallow said.

Over time, they believe it won’t only help students, but the community as a whole.

“We have left more people behind in this region than we’d ever like to see, so this will help employers, this will help our students and ultimately this will help our region significantly in terms of opening the doors to prosperity, which we know is the foundation of education,” Mone said.

To implement, the schools say it will be around an $8 million investment over five years.

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