Give Back MKE 2022: Shepherds College

These local organizations are doing great work in our city – and they need your support.


Shepherds College was founded 15 years ago, with only six students. The post-secondary school, serving those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, now has 86 students enrolled, and has become the leading school of its kind in the nation.

“We’re the largest school that serves this population and the only one that is accredited,” says Dr. Tracy Terrill, the president of Shepherds College.

Students attend three years of classes at the residential Union Grove campus, studying culinary arts, horticulture or technology. Students have come to Shepherds College from far and wide – more than 34 states and eight countries.

In each student’s final year on campus, they are placed in jobs related to their chosen specialty, working up to 20 hours a week. And the college has a remarkable track record of post-graduation success.

Photo courtesy of Shepherds College

“Our graduates are employed at over 80% – and that’s gainfully employed – at minimum wage or higher,” says Terrill.

In addition to their vocational coursework, students develop social and life skills on campus that further their independence after graduation. Just like at other colleges and universities, opportunities to participate in athletics, clubs, spiritual groups and service projects are part of the on-campus college experience.

“Our mission is based around the philosophy of ‘Appropriate Independence,’” says Tyler Sallee, the campus director. “We focus on each student as an individual – their strengths, their needs – and we help them grow to the right level of independence for them.”

The college’s latest effort is to launch a new fundraising campaign to improve student housing and install new safety measures. “This is a major project,” says Terrill. “It’s going to do things like put fobs on doors to secure the campus and have gated entrances to control traffic.”

After they graduate, Shepherds College students go on to work in stores, restaurants, IT troubleshooting jobs and much more, and many are able to live far more independently than before attending.

“It’s great to see students leave here and go on to do amazing things,” Sallee says. “We believe in our students, and we love to see that.”

Photo courtesy of Shepherds College

What We Do:

• Shepherds College is a post-secondary school for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities, located on a residential campus in Union Grove.

• The college offers job, social and life skills training, along with occupational training in culinary arts, horticulture and technology.

Where Your Money Goes:

• Donations go toward the Shepherds College Annual Scholarship Fund, which helps provide scholarships to students with financial need.

• Shepherds College is also seeking donations to fund its campus renovation project, improving student housing and installing new safety features.

Photo courtesy of Shepherds College

1805 15TH AVE., UNION GROVE | 262-878-5620


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine’s December issue.

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