University Economic Development Association


M3: Harnessing the Power of Education for Talent Development

Award Category: Talent + Place
Project Site: M3: Harnessing the Power of Education for Talent Development
Submitted By: UW-Milwaukee
Contact: Phyllis King, Vice Provost, 414.229.6175


M3 is a powerful initiative transforming the City of Milwaukee through education. Metropolitan Milwaukee’s three largest public educators—Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM)—have partnered to be key change agents to education through collaboration, coordination and partnership, increasing the retention, graduation, and career success of students and providing a prepared workforce and citizenry for the Wisconsin economy. Together, these three institutions serve over 137,741 students. The goals of the initiative are to 1) raise aspirations, readiness and student success, 2) educate families about the value of post-secondary learning, 3) align curriculum and services from middle school to post-secondary education to create a seamless system, 4) create and cultivate a culture of learning in which there is an expectation to continue education after high school, and 5) engage the student voice, provide safe spaces, and commit to equity and inclusion.

While improving education metrics is a long-term effort, M3 recently presented a two-year impact update that demonstrated improvements in several areas, including increased high school graduation rates, an increase in the number of students entering college immediately upon graduation, and more students applying for financial aid. MPS graduation rates rose from 58.2% to 62.2%. The number of MPS students enrolling in college within one year after high school is on upward trajectory, and completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) jumped from 60.8% to a 74.6% completion rate.