Milwaukee Area Technical College

Face of Milwaukee’s Diverse Talent Pipeline

Milwaukee Area Technical College (Left to right) Joey Nicgorski and Raquel Aleman; Photo by Boutique Photographer Linda Smallpage; Instagram: @boutiquephotographer | Facebook: Boutique Photographer | Linkedin: Linda Smallpage

Joey Nicgorski started college at the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2004. “I didn’t have a clear path or goals. I was just going to college because it was something you were supposed to do,” he says. He left after two years, not completing his degree. Raquel Aleman had a similar experience around the same time at Milwaukee Area Technical College. Being a single mother, she left college to work full time.

When Aleman and Nicgorski heard about MATC’s Promise for Adults program, over a decade had passed since they left their respective colleges. The program allows individuals 24 years or older who have achieved at least six college credits in the past and meet the financial requirements to finish their degree at MATC and have tuition paid for by the college. Over 78% of Promise students identify as students of color.

Both Nicgorski and Aleman completed associate degrees in business management tuition-free with the Promise program. After Aleman graduated in 2020, she realized that a volunteer youth-mentoring organization she had started, Your Move MKE, had the potential to be a lot more. She turned it into a nonprofit organization combining chess with hip-hop music, teaching life lessons and skilled trades to help keep young people on a positive track. She now serves as executive director. Aleman also attained a real estate certificate at MATC.

Since graduating in 2021, Nicgorski joined the brand marketing department at Harley-Davidson and is pursuing a bachelor’s in marketing from UW-Madison. “The Promise Program just made it possible for me to start down the path I’m on now,” Nicgorski says. “My life is completely different since the day I enrolled at MATC. From my career to my schooling, it’s just been unbelievable.”

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