Community members, elected officials, administrators and staff from Madison College celebrated the grand opening of the Goodman South Campus on Saturday afternoon.
“This building was designed to serve the needs of the South Madison community,” Madison College President Dr. Jack E. Daniels III said.
Located at 2429 Perry Street at the corner of Badger Road & Park Street, the Goodman South Campus will bring access to educational and community resources to the area. Daniels said the school has already enrolled about 2,000 students. He also mentioned that the school’s population is 54 percent people of color.
Members of the community listened to the stories of students, state and local officials, donors, leaders within the Greater South Madison, community and the chambers of commerce, as well as a land acknowledgment by the Ho-Chunk Nation. Each speaker, some former students, spoke to their stake in the Goodman South Campus and pride in the community.
“Madison College understands that here in Wisconsin our technical schools serve a crucial role in developing and training a skilled workforce. Students here and at all of our technical schools are learning critical skills and they’re immediately putting them to use in their community,” Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes said.
He congratulated Daniels, the staff and those involved with making this facility possible. Barnes also called this “a new chapter” for the South Side of Madison. He said he is proud that Madison College is apart of the new economic development and growth of the community.
“We know that the future of Wisconsin’s workforce looks drastically different than the workforce our grandparents knew. Our future workforce is led by women. It’s led by people of color. It’s led by people with diverse backgrounds,” Barnes said.
State Representative and Dane County Board Supervisor Shelia Stubbs called the Goodman South Campus a “gift that keeps on giving.” Inspired by former First Lady Michelle Obama’s words, Stubbs shared her excitement over the new Madison College facility. She even gave a call to action.
“I am proud and honored to see this campus in my district and I will continue to fight against any racial disparities in education, employment and any indicators in a person’s life,” Stubbs said.
Madison Metropolitan School District Board President Gloria Reyes mentioned the Early College STEM Academy partnership with Madison College. The Academy grants access to college courses in science, technology, engineering and math and increases opportunities for high school juniors and seniors to earn college credit at no cost to them or their families.
“We know from research that students that participate in dual credit do better at going to and staying in college, achieving higher grades and college graduation rates,” Reyes said.
The facility was named to honor Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman, namesakes of the foundation that contributed $10 million to construct the campus. In addition to the Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Foundation, the Ascendum Education Group and American Family Insurance also gave substantial donations.
Ascendium Chairman and President Richard G. George said the organization made an exception to make a grant towards a capital project. The organization contributed about $10.3 million to support the project.
“We see ourselves as one of the anchors of the South Madison community. Our presence is evidence of that,” Daniels said.
Many community leaders joined the celebration on Saturday to note how important the campus had been to their organizations and groups of people they served. Daniels shared the mic with leaders from Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison, Hmong Institute, Centro Hispano, 100 Black Men of Madison and Mount Zion Baptist Church. The presidents of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, Latino Chamber of Commerce, Black Chamber of Commerce and Fitchburg Chamber of Commerce also spoke.
Latino Chamber President Jessica Cavazos and Black Chamber President Camille Carter both noted that their organizations were formed by leadership within Madison College. Cavazos said 40 percent of their incubator students attend Madison College. Speakers had high hopes for the success of the campus and its students in the community.
“South Madison can’t wait another generation before it comes to realize its place as a gem in the greater community. We can do this and we can do it together,” Daniels said.
He said the campus will help eliminate barriers to education, employment and sustainable wages while also providing social resources, legal access, and help address food insecurity. The Goodman South Campus remains open seven days a week and has programming all seven days.