M-cubed partnership wins national higher education award

An education partnership involving UWM won an award at the University Economic Development Association national conference for its work to boost student achievement and close equity gaps in Milwaukee.

M(pronounced M-cubed) prevailed in the “Talent + Place” category that included two other finalists at the UEDA conference in Reno, Nevada, on Oct. 1. Talent + Place recognized projects that showed how putting the right people in the right environment benefits the community and economy.

Representatives from each of the Mpartners — UWM, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Milwaukee Public Schools – traveled to Reno to deliver the winning presentation, “M3: Harnessing the Power of Education for Talent Development.”

“We are honored to receive this award,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “The ultimate winners are the students in Milwaukee whose lives are so positively impacted by the M3 collaboration.”

The national recognition comes amid other encouraging signs for M3 in striving to achieve the overarching goal of transforming Milwaukee through education.

Mreached a major milestone with the graduation of the partnership’s first Early College program class in May, celebrating the 32 MPS students who got a taste of higher education. They earned 10 college credits over the Spring 2019 semester by taking courses at MATC and UWM.

Early College has doubled in size this fall, with more than 60 students now taking 19 college credits over the course of the new academic year.

Another positive development is the rising graduation rate at MPS. The four-year high school completion rate was 66.7% for 2017-18, the last certified figure, up from 59.7% in 2015-16. The target for 2020 is 72%.

Encouraged by the optimistic signs, leaders and stakeholders from UWM, MATC and MPS are considering new goals that would measure progress well beyond 2020 and include postsecondary achievement.

“The award reinforces our shared commitment to build on a promising start as we strive to forge a true public education network,” Mone said.

Established in 1976, UEDA has more than 160 members. On its website, the association describes its work as bringing together “higher education institutions, private sector businesses, non-profits, government organizations, and community economic development stakeholders to create local and regional economic opportunity.”

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