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MKE Fellows Program Seeks to Keep the Brightest of Young Men in Milwaukee

A local program is trying to convince talent students to keep their talents in their hometown.

On Tuesday, Mayor Tom Barrett and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch attended a luncheon for the MKE Fellows Program. The program provides scholarship to local students attending Morehouse College in Atlanta. The Tuesday event was designed to connect those students with local leaders and let them know the benefits of coming back to Milwaukee.

"It's about exposing these students to the great things happening in our state of Wisconsin," explained John Daniels of Quarles and Brady Law Firm. "And getting employers to see that there's some wonderful talent that we can attract to Milwaukee."

"To me, it's the type of positive reinforcement that's necessary," added Mayor Barrett. "Because these are young guys and for a lot of them, they could write their own ticket, they could go anywhere in the country. We want them to write their ticket to come home."

Several local companies support the MKE Fellow Programs, including Harley-Davidson, Johnson Controls, The Boys And Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, Aurora Health Care, the Milwaukee Bucks, BMO Harris Bank, and GE Healthcare.

“This innovative program has helped prepare college bound high school students for future employment through education, internships, and professional development seminars. We are grateful the new wave of young and talented African-American men from Milwaukee are about to graduate college with a firm commitment to finding a career in their home city.

Among them is Nicholas Stokes, a Rufus King High School graduate who passed up pursuing basketball for an academic scholarship to Morehouse College.

After graduating in May, he will begin his career at Associated Bank, where he recently accepted a position as a credit analyst associate. The MKE Fellows Program, the only program of its kind in the U.S., is an initiative launched in 2012 to help high-performing students from Milwaukee attend Morehouse College, a historically black institution in Atlanta, Georgia. Driven by a desire to help prepare the next generation of leaders.

Originally just involving Morehouse, the program was expanded in 2015 to include young men attending a variety of colleges and universities. MKE Fellows participate in summer internships with Milwaukee companies providing real-world job experience, and attend professional development and mentorship seminars with influential Milwaukee business leaders.

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