In October 2015, a 24/7 Wall St. study ranked Milwaukee as the worst city for black Americans. More than 40% of our African-Americans live below the poverty level and 56.8% of African-American men are unemployed. Not surprisingly, many of our community’s young, diverse talent leave Milwaukee to forge careers in other cities. How do we change this? How do we foster a stronger pipeline of minority leaders? How do we ensure that our companies can access diverse talent?
The business community started the MKE Fellows initiative to encourage young, talented, diverse college students from Milwaukee to return from college for summer internships and, eventually, their careers. The GMC believes that internships, particularly those for underserved minorities, represent an important opportunity for our youth to build skills, networks and knowledge. The GMC’s partnership with MKE Fellows and local area business leaders represents an intentional decision that racial equity and inclusion is the only way that our community will create a viable 21st century workforce and, in turn, a vibrant community. This partnership represents a multifaceted approach to supporting and enhancing equity and inclusion.
MKE Fellows creates opportunities for students to network with local business leaders and exposes them to an array of professional experiences that complement their academic studies and position them for viable and strong post-graduation work/career opportunities in the Milwaukee area while deepening the students’ local connections.
In 2016, the program is nearly tripling in size, and will provide a wide array of professional and personal development opportunities, social supports and safety nets for summer 2016.