MILWAUKEE— A handful of colleges in the Milwaukee area announced a new initiative to end equity gaps in higher education.

In a news conference on Wednesday, four Wisconsin colleges announced the initiative to help more students of color graduate from college.

“The Moon Shot is an initiative to advance college completion rates and eliminate equity gaps. Let me stress that again, eliminate, not reduce, not turn a corner, but absolutely eliminate,” UW-Milwaukee Chancellor, Mark Mone says.

The Moon Shot program is a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, MATC, UW-Parkside, Carthage College, and the EAB.

“Wisconsin is the last in the country in terms of high school completion rates for black students versus white students, and it’s in the bottom seven of all 50 states for all Hispanic students. This is not a place where we want to be but unfortunately, we know this completion gaps continue into higher education,” Mone says.

Their game plan is to work on three major strategies. The first one is implementing best practices from other campuses across the US. Next, embed change management and implementation techniques, and finally, deploy technology to enhance equity and reduce bias.

“As participating institutions, we have committed ourself to implementing more than a dozen research-based strategies to remove those systemic and institutional barriers to student success. These range from updating academic policies, to establishing common academic pathways and providing equity-minded training to educational leaders,” MATC President, Vicki Martin says.

The hope is to close the gap by involving those at the top and the students who go to school on these campuses. They are hoping this will then turn into providing a better outcome for students and the surrounding communities

“The Milwaukee metropolitan region has a 40,000 employee shortage in areas such as business, engineering, healthcare and IT. We need more college graduates for the employers in the economic hub of our state,” Carthage College President and CEO, John Swallow says.

The goal is to get underserved students to graduate at the same rate as other students by 2030

The Milwaukee-Kenosha region the first in the country to participate together in something like this with the EAB. They hope that one day all 18 colleges in the region will be apart of this program as well.

For more information on the program, click here.