The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s Council of Small Business Executives will launch a campaign this week to raise $75,000 for Second Chance Partners for Education’s new education center.
Second Chance, a nonprofit that provides at-risk high school students with an alternative learning experience at manufacturing facilities, plans to open its ninth education center at Lakeside Manufacturing Inc. in West Milwaukee this fall.
Lakeside manufactures mobile and storage equipment for various industries.
COSBE partnered with Second Chance in October to support closing the manufacturing skills gap. The funding, which COSBE will raise over a four-month campaign, will cover the Lakeside center’s first year of operations as well as books, computers, transportation and technology.
“We’re excited to have the support of COSBE and its members as we collaborate to improve the lives of our students and teach the skills area manufacturers need,” said Stephanie Borowski, executive director of SCP. “This relationship is important to the overall success of our program. In addition to the financial support that’s needed to open new centers, active engagement between COSBE members and Second Chance is where the real long-term benefit lies.”
Second Chance Partners’ existing education centers have demonstrated success through a 95 percent attendance rate and a 90 percent graduation rate. According to SCP, 60 percent of students who complete the program enter the workforce immediately and 30 percent enroll at universities or technical schools.
“While in the program, there is a transformation that occurs. Students who were previously at risk of failure become high performers,” said Mary Scheibel, chair of COSBE. “Supporting SCP is a great way for the small business community to make a meaningful impact on an issue that’s important to the health and vitality of the region. Developing a skilled manufacturing workforce benefits these students, our current businesses and helps bring other mid-market companies to the Southeastern Wisconsin region. It’s a win for all of us.”
COSBE plans to kick off the fundraiser at its Roundtable Leaders breakfast on Wednesday.