Market Strategy, Engagement Consulting & Experience Design

Milwaukee Area Technical College (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 30,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. 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.

Engagement Needs:

Skills and opportunity gaps are persistent within the Milwaukee region. These gaps threaten the region’s economic health and upward mobility for many who have lived in generations of poverty.

MATC partnered with NEWaukee to create an innovative new program that would accelerate career exploration for students that might be at risk of becoming underemployed.

Key Insights:

The NEWaukee team did extensive research on demographic and behavioral shifts that are exacerbating the skills and equity gaps affecting the region:

  • • In 2019 at MATC, of the just over 3,000 applicants in the direct-from-high-school age range who applied to MATC, nearly 60% of them did not enroll at any post-secondary institution the fall immediately following graduation.
  • • Only 37% of Milwaukee county residents hold an associate’s degree or higher, but 62% of all jobs in Wisconsin require education beyond high school.
    Milwaukee’s college-age population is decreasing in part because of demographic realities, but also because many are opting out of college immediately following graduation.
  • • Since 2010, there has been a 294% increase in gap years taken. Gap year situations occur because a person needs income, is not ready or unsure of their career path, and/or may calculate that college is too expensive.
  • • Any response to these trends must be a multi-pronged approach to advance equity and build a talent pipeline while engaging disconnected and underemployed college-aged adults.
MATC Gap Year Showcase Graphic (1080 × 1080 px) (1)

Here’s What Working with NEWaukee Can Do:

Led by MATC in partnership with NEWaukee, the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) Gap Year program is an immersive program for high school graduates seeking a transformative experience before they go to college or pursue a future career path.

During the MATC Gap Year program, high school graduates who are not currently planning to pursue higher education explore jobs with high starting salaries, connect with local employers, build their network with civic and business leaders, and form connections with peers – all while having a flexible schedule to work during the experience. Participants receive a $1,200 stipend upon completion of the program.

The MATC Gap Year program is a 10-week intensive running in spring and fall, followed by alumni experiences that allow for continued mentorship, job opportunities, and networking resources.



“I want to go into IT which I’m 100% sure I wouldn’t have realized without the help of this program.” – Spring 2022 MATC Gap Year Graduate

“I am much more aware of what I want/need in a career and know how to achieve my goals.” – Spring 2022 MATC Gap Year Graduate

Investing in a Pipeline of the Region’s Future Talent

  • • 68% increase in participants’ knowledge of Milwaukee
  • • 54% increase in participants’ understanding of career options in Milwaukee
  • • 47% increase in knowledge about the programs and career pathways offered at MATC
  • • 9 in 10 participants said they hope to attend MATC post-program


Make NEW Possible


Talk to Angela to get started:

Contact Us