All-In Milwaukee plans program expansion to support 1,000 students

An All-In Milwaukee cohort of students at UW-Madison.
An All-In Milwaukee cohort of students at UW-Madison.

All-In Milwaukee, a college completion assistance program that provides financial aid, advising, program and career support to high potential, limited-income, diverse Milwaukee students, which currently supports 415 students, plans to expand over the next five years to support 1,000 students.

The expansion plans were announced Wednesday during a fifth anniversary celebration for the program, held at Baird’s corporate headquarters in downtown Milwaukee.

All-In Milwaukee says it has had to turn away more than 1,000 high school seniors over the past five years who were eligible for the program with high financial need and high academic achievement.

“Our students’ dreams, and Milwaukee’s future, become endangered when unlimited potential meets limited opportunity,” said Allison Wagner, executive director of All-In Milwaukee. “After five years, we have the recipe for success and we have demonstrated clear outcomes. When we provide the financial, social, emotional and career support that scholars need, the playing field becomes more level. We are extremely proud of everything our All-In Milwaukee scholars have achieved in our first five years, and our long-term plan is to grow and support even more students over the next five years and beyond.”

This spring, All-In Milwaukee celebrated its first-ever graduating class. For All-In Milwaukee’s first class of students that entered college in fall 2019, 90% have already graduated or will graduate by the spring of 2024, according to the organization.

“This program is a win-win-win: A win for the All-In Milwaukee scholars and their families. A win for employers who get connected to talented, diverse employees. And a win for the Milwaukee community, which benefits greatly from a college educated workforce,” said Mary Ellen Stanek, president of Baird Funds, co-chief investment officer of Baird Advisors and an All-In Milwaukee board member. “We are exceeding even our own high expectations over the first five years, but we need to get more kids into the program. That means adding more donors and more employers to help us build the program and give more deserving young people this opportunity.”

“All-In Milwaukee has brought incredible value to the lives of future generations and to this city, and over the last five years, Northwestern Mutual has helped support and had the benefit of having interns from the All-In Milwaukee program,” said John Schlifske, president, chairman and CEO at Northwestern Mutual. “As we celebrate the successes over the last five years, we look forward to seeing our community thrive, fostering talent and creating economic impact.”

Of its students who have already graduated or are expected to graduate from college next spring, 80% are projected to have zero college debt, and the remaining students will graduate with well below average levels of debt, according to All-In Milwaukee, which provides scholarship support to students and negotiates with university partners on financial aid packages.

All-In Milwaukee says its ultimate goal is to fight “brain drain” in Milwaukee by sending All-In Milwaukee scholars to Wisconsin universities, then providing internship opportunities and other connections with local employers and business leaders to encourage them to stay here after graduation to build meaningful careers and become future civic leaders.

All-In Milwaukee university partners include Alverno College, Carroll University, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Whitewater and Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Local employers who are hiring All-In Milwaukee graduates this year include Accenture, Amazon, Baird, Children’s Wisconsin, Direct Supply, Froedtert, Johnson Controls, the Medical College of Wisconsin and Versiti.

Between employment opportunities and post-graduate enrollment, 97% of this year’s graduating class is staying in Wisconsin, according to All-In Milwaukee.

“I could not imagine what my college experience would be like without All-In Milwaukee, because they were there with me every step of the way,” said recent All-In Milwaukee graduate Adrian Mora, who graduated from Marquette with an economics degree in May and now works for Baird as a portfolio analyst. “To everyone who helps us realize our dreams, your support means the world to us.”

Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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