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Madison Metropolitan School District

MMSD Receives Department of Workforce Development Grant for Advanced Manufacturing Equipment

MMSD Receives Department of Workforce Development Grant for Advanced Manufacturing Equipment

The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) is the recipient of a Wisconsin Fast Forward Program grant, provided through the state’s Department of Workforce Development.

The grant, valued at approximately $49,000, will help fund investments in advanced manufacturing equipment, which falls under the district’s career and technical education (CTE) programming. Funds will go directly toward the purchase of computer numerical control (CNC) routers, laser cutters and kits from VEX Robotics, giving students access to the type of equipment used by professionals in real-world applications spanning robotics, engineering design and smart manufacturing.

CTE programs provide participants specialized training in a variety of in-demand, well-paying fields, often helping them make direct connections to jobs after graduation, as well as serving as a foundation for further study at the collegiate level. In 2023, the most recent year for which data is available, 640 MMSD students graduated as CTE concentrators—that is, students who earned two or more credits within a single program of study. District-wide, this cohort has a graduation rate of 95%. 

“This grant is both an acknowledgment of the importance of CTE programs in secondary education and an investment in the future of manufacturing and engineering in the State of Wisconsin,“ said Mitchell Staroscik, MMSD’s director of Personalized Pathways and Career and Technical Education. “Students learn best by doing, and we are thrilled by the potential that this funding will help our students unlock.”

The district’s expansion of its CTE offerings was largely made possible by the passage of the 2020 referenda; East, La Follette, Vel Phillips Memorial and West high schools have each been upgraded with spaces and equipment that support teaching and active, experience-based learning in areas like transportation, technology and engineering, woods and construction, hospitality and health science. Notably, students enrolled in MMSD’s dual-credit program, which is embedded in five CTE programs, collectively realize annual tuition savings of more than $570,000.

“We are grateful for this grant because it provides much needed support of hands-on learning opportunities for students interested in pursuing pathways to high-demand, high-growth technical careers,” said Superintendent Dr. Joe Gothard.

MMSD is one of 17 school districts that received a Wisconsin Fast Forward grant.