Teachtown MKE

A Letter from the President: June 2016

Taylor, JuliaAs we enter another beautiful Milwaukee summer, we’d like to share some updates on our key initiatives with you. We’re keeping busy at the GMC offices!

Scale Up Milwaukee

Scale Up Milwaukee recently launched a new membership program model; the very first quarterly members meeting took place at the end of June at the University Club with more than 70 individuals from about 50 organizations. Scale Up Milwaukee membership is the perfect way for everyone to directly engage with Milwaukee’s growth-oriented programs, network and culture. We encourage everyone to join and be a part of this exciting movement. For more information, reach out to Elmer Moore or check out the webpage here.

Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE)

MiKE is in the process of planning Walk the Talk 2016, a conference exploring the intersection of innovation and creativity. The conference is scheduled for Thursday, October 13th, and will be hosted in the Near West Side neighborhood. Leading up to the conference, MiKE will host a summer speaking series. The second speaker is in just a few short weeks on July 20th – check out more information and register here.

The Commons completed its spring 2016 session with another 75 students completing the program. The Commons has now served more than 285 students, and after completing the program, 90% of students feel more connected to our professional community and 81% are more likely to look for job opportunities in Wisconsin.

MKE Fellows

Forty-five high-achieving black male college students have been placed in paid summer internships at top companies through the MKE Fellows. Throughout the summer, we’re hosting professional development sessions and partnering with local companies for lunch and learns. Thank you to all the area companies participating!

Teachtown MKE

The GMC launched this important project in 2013 and since then has welcomed nearly 2,500 educators to our urban schools, helped relocate nearly 500 of them to this region and continues to serve hundreds each month in social and professional development activities. In fact, educators that participate in Teachtown MKE activities are 15% more likely to be retained in the classroom. The Teachtown MKE Key to the City, a card given to each educator, includes free admission and promotions to many of Milwaukee’s cultural institutions.

MPS and Bradley Tech

The Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council teamed up with Milwaukee Public Schools’ Bradley Tech High School recently to get more students interested in construction jobs and enter apprenticeships. Bradley Tech hosted its first Life Mentor Day, organized by local professional mentors and Bradley Tech students to celebrate five months of mentorship and working hands-on with welding, plumbing, tile-setting, heating, brick-laying, cement-laying and electrical wiring activities. Special thanks to Dan Bukewicz for his leadership with that program!

Reimagining High Schools

There is a lot going on throughout our high schools. Just last summer, 62 diverse Milwaukee leaders met at the Catalyst Ranch in Chicago to reimagine what MPS high schools can and should be in order for all students to be successful and to create a vibrant Milwaukee community.  Ultimately, the SAS attendees collectively conceived a vision for the MPS high school of the future. This initiative has a strong commitment from the 60+ collaborators from the MPS High School SAS. The GMC, in partnership with Milwaukee Public schools continues to take on projects like the Super School grant with Morse Marshall High School and the Bradley Tech Redesign plan. These efforts are increasing educational opportunities, finding innovative ways to support our schools, and enhancing outcomes for our students.

Talent Dividend/Inspire Southeast Wisconsin

Following up on our Talent Dividend program, now known as Inspire Southeast Wisconsin, in its first year, the program flourished with 110 active companies, 138 active career coaches and 270 career-based learning activities. Thousands of students learned about companies and connected with professionals in the fields they’re interested in.

Downtown Action Agenda

In May, the team of consultants working with the Downtown Action Agenda was in town for Immersion Week. This included several days of meetings to connect the consultants with the planning efforts already underway or recently completed to ensure alignment and avoid duplicative work. The civic engagement phase of the project began just in the last month. The first round of focus groups is coming up in late July and early August, and will engage 100 key community stakeholders.

Creative Placemaking

The GMC’s efforts in creative placemaking were recently spotlighted during a panel discussion as part of the National Main Street Center’s annual conference held in Milwaukee in May. Looking ahead, the Beerline Trail Extension will soon kick off summer programming along the trail in the Riverwest and Harambee neighborhoods.

 

We encourage you to stay engaged with our projects this summer. If anything jumps out at you, let us know and we’ll get you hooked in.

 

Sincerely,

Julia Taylor
President
Greater Milwaukee Committee

A Letter from the President: April 2016

Taylor, JuliaOn Monday, the Public Policy Forum released a report entitled “Help Wanted” that examines the teacher pipeline issue in our region. Educator attraction and retention is not a new issue, but it continues to plague many cities throughout the country because of its multifaceted nature. Here are some important pieces that color this complex landscape in Milwaukee:

We’re fighting national trends. These educator trends are not unique to Milwaukee; our numbers reflect national trends. The New York Times recently reported that there is a teacher shortage nationally. Half of all teachers nationally leave the profession after five years. Many urban markets are facing vacancies including Oklahoma City, Providence, and San Francisco. Recently, Hawaii’s state department of education announced they will need to fill 1,600 vacancies for the 2016-2017 school year. Also, Wisconsin is not the only Midwestern state experiencing declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs; Indiana is facing similar issues.

We’re experiencing some demographic shifts. Decreasing enrollment is not only in teacher prep programs. Locally, Milwaukee metro-area colleges have seen a nearly 9.2% drop (7,224 students) in enrollment since the 2010-2011 school year. We believe that this drop is largely the consequence of demographic shifts. There were 15.2 million college students in 1999 and 20.4 million in 2011. The number of Americans turning 18 hit its recent peak in 2009, and will continue to decline through 2017, according to the New York Times. In the state of Wisconsin, youth ages 15-19 showed a population drop of 14,915 from 2010-2015, a 3.7% drop. (Source: UW Applied Population Lab and State of Wisconsin Demographic Services Center)

Still, there exist promising practices here in Milwaukee are already reversing this trend. These efforts work each day to make Milwaukee the top destination for urban educators throughout the region.

The GMC launched Teachtown MKE in 2013 and since then has welcomed nearly 2,500 educators to our urban schools, helped relocate nearly 500 of them to this region and continues to serve hundreds each month in social and professional development activities. In fact, educators that participate in Teachtown MKE activities are 15% more likely to be retained in the classroom.

Education Deans of Greater Milwaukee is a group comprised of our area deans of education who are working to address these issues collaboratively.

Alan Shoho, dean of the School of Education at UWM, is also working to engage local middle and high school students to explore careers in education. His pilot will be launching in fall so stay tuned for some additional information on this exciting initiative.

Americorps education programs such as City Year, Teach for America and College Possible are immersive opportunities for high school and college grads alike to begin their careers in the education field.

Additionally, there are recognized best practices for teacher retention including:

  • Increasing salaries: 97% of teachers who earned more than $40,000 their first year returned the next year, compared with 87% who earned less than $40,000. By the fifth year, 89% of those earning $40,000 or more were still on the job, compared with 80% earning less than $40,000.
  • The power of mentorship: 92% of teachers assigned a mentor their first year returned the next year, and 86% were still on the job by the fifth year. Only 84% of teachers without mentors returned in the second year, declining to 71% in the fifth year.

Milwaukee Public Schools includes both of these strategies for their first year educators. The MPS teacher starting salary is $41,262 and each new educator is paired with a teaching mentor.

We do not want this discussion to end here. In fact, we hope that this is just the beginning; our teacher workforce is one of our community’s most precious commodities. We hope you’ll join us on May 4th for a luncheon, in partnership with the Public Policy Forum, at the Italian Community Center, where we’ll continue this important conversation. The event will begin with a presentation of the new report by the Forum’s senior education researcher, followed by a panel of education stakeholders who will discuss potential solutions. For more details on this event, please click here (registration closes at 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 29).

 

Sincerely,

Julia Taylor
President

A Letter from the President: March 2016

In this month’s and other upcoming president’s columns, I’d like to share some personal stories of success stemming from our initiatives.

Innovation in Milwaukee (MiKE)

College students try to make the most out of their school experience, and Michael Snowden, a business major at Cardinal Stritch University, is no exception. Michael was one of ten students chosen to participate in MiKE‘s Destination Innovation program, a collaboration with Southwest Airlines and Kohl’s Department Stores. Despite never having flown before, Michael embraced this opportunity to brainstorm with fellow students on the future of customer service and then pitch his ideas to other passengers while at 35,000 feet in the sky.

Michael remains connected to MiKE through our flagship program, The Commons, a skills accelerator that seeks to prepare college students for the 21st century innovation economy. Michael was accepted into the spring 2016 session and is working on one of six student-led startup teams called Doughnation, an app that will allow college students to easily support their favorite nonprofits. Michael and his team will share their final presentation on April 19th at Demo Day.

Another Commons participant, a Mount Mary University student, found a full-time job through The Commons. A communications major with no IT background, Shannon admitted she never would have applied for the job she ended up being offered at Kohl’s. She applied – and was hired – because The Commons gave her an opportunity to show her leadership skills and personality, which easily won over the Kohl’s team, who held the position for her until she finished school. Kohl’s had not often hired graduates from Mount Mary in the past – The Commons connected the dots. Learn more about Shannon here!

 

Teachtown MKE

One of Teachtown MKE‘s many offerings for our teachers is free tickets to sporting events. After a Marquette University basketball game, one teacher sent us a note:

“I went to the Marquette Game with my daughter last Saturday and it was a great daddy daughter date 🙂 Thanks again for the tickets. Afterwards we went ice skating at Red Arrow Park and ate cake pops and drank coffee! She was so happy!!!! Thanks again, we plan on attending again. ”

Teachtown MKE not only provided this teacher and his daughter with a great experience, but encouraged him to explore downtown and continue attending basketball games.

Scale Up Milwaukee

Matt Carroll of AccuTrans was introduced to Scale Up Milwaukee well before the Scalerator recruitment period began. His business provided a coach and driver for a group of Brazilian emissaries visiting Milwaukee to learn about Scale Up Milwaukee and the activities growing the region’s economy. One year after the introduction, Matt has just completed the Scalerator program and has a growing list of related accomplishments marking his impressive growth. He’s acquired three other coach and limousine companies in just the last three months and received the 2016 Small Business Administration Wisconsin Emerging Small Business Award. All this, and AccuTrans is outperforming Matt’s ambitious projections with revenue that is nearly 90% ahead of the same date last year!

Stay tuned for more stories in coming months, and feel free to pass along any you might have.

 

Sincerely,

Julia Taylor
President

Hmong academy teacher funding for bio-fuel project

From The Milwaukee Business Journal
Published January 7, 2014

Rick Ferraro, a science teacher at the Hmong American Peace Academy in Milwaukee, knows that transportation is an issue for his students.

So he’s teaching his students how to make their own alternative fuel and The Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Teachtown MKE is helping him raise funds through its first Beyond the Books initiative.

Read more here.

Greater Milwaukee Committee’s Teachtown MKE launches crowdfunding campaign

MILWAUKEE, Dec. 12, 2013 – The Greater Milwaukee Committee’s (GMC) newest initiative, Teachtown MKE, launched a new campaign, “Beyond the Books,” inviting Milwaukee’s educators to submit their biggest and brightest ideas for cultivating great education in their schools or classrooms. Using crowdsourced funding, chosen ideas are brought to life through online donations.

Project Flexibus is the first project funded through Beyond the Books. First-year Hmong American Peace Academy science instructor Rick Ferraro wants to teach his students about alternative fuel. Through Beyond the Books, Mr. Ferraro’s students will convert a real gasoline-powered engine to an ethanol-fueled one, which will then power a school bus.

Teachtown MKE hopes to raise $17,000 by mid-February for Project Flexibus through crowd-sourced funding. The funds will cover a used school bus, delivery to the school, engine conversion and fees related to the crowdfunding campaign. The campaign also includes “stretch goals” of $36,000 to include a custom graphics wrap for the bus and $80,000, which would cover a brand-new school bus.

To learn more about Project Flexibus and Mr. Ferraro’s students, and to donate to the campaign, please visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/project-flexibus.

The GMC created Teachtown MKE at the request of MPS Superintendent Dr. Gregory Thornton, who came to the GMC requesting assistance in recruiting and retaining teachers in MPS. Teachtown MKE works with local partners to fuel a community dedicated to providing local educators with a warm welcome and continued gratitude. To learn more, visit TeachtownMKE.com, and to learn more about Beyond the Books, visit BeyondtheBooks.TeachtownMKE.com.

The Greater Milwaukee Committee is a private sector civic organization whose mission is to contribute to the cultural and economic base of the Milwaukee metropolitan area. Currently led by president Julia Taylor and chair John Daniels, the GMC is committed to building on its past successes and to making Milwaukee the best community in which to live, learn, work and play. For more information, please visit gmconline.org.

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