Madison Area Technical College

Founded in 1912, Madison Area Technical College (Madison College) is a public two-year, post-secondary institution. At that time, its mission was to train the coming generation of workers for jobs in the growing factories and businesses of the era. More than a century later, we continue this commitment to build a workforce that will allow employers who hire our graduates to compete in a global marketplace.   With close to 150 career programs and certificates, as well as a robust college transfer program, Madison College serves more than 40,000 students each year with high-quality instruction, top-notch facilities and access to nationally recognized flagship programs. We offer roughly 130 transfer opportunities from our technical programs to other four-year institutions, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 2012, Madison College transfer students enrolled at 340 different colleges and universities around the country.  We also offer numerous certificate programs, which are designed to enhance a degree or resume with targeted knowledge in specific areas.  Certificates offer the opportunity to rapidly respond to changes and new technologies as they arise.

Madison College serves students in the 12 counties that define south-central Wisconsin.  Campus locations include five sites within Madison, and four regional sites in the cities of Reedsburg, Watertown, Fort Atkinson and Portage.  It is the second-largest of 16 schools in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), serving 40 school districts, 223 municipalities and 739,775 residents. Madison College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which was founded in 1895 and is an independent corporation and member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).  The tradition of excellence at Madison College is under the leadership of President Jack E. Daniels, III, Ph.D.

Academic programming in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at Madison College has gained national attention. The School of Applied Sciences Engineering and Technology is home to programs such as Advanced Manufacturing, Robotics, Photovoltaics and Biotechnology.  In addition, innovative programs including the NSF-funded WiscAMP, QuantWay, Computer-Assisted Modular Math (CAMM) program, Community College Sustainable Development Network (CCSDN) and the Wisconsin Technical College System STEM Bridge are faculty-led initiatives that promote student success in STEM-related areas. To sustain and nurture these efforts, Madison College has identified a comprehensive, integrated six-point action plan that includes (i) strategic planning for teaching and learning, (ii) career advising, (iii) community engagement, (iv) leadership, (v) career engagement–experience based learning and (vi) classroom-to-career pathways.

Innovative Employer-Driven Pathways

The bioscience industry in Wisconsin is driven by over 1,600 companies that are actively moving the state’s economy forward. The industry is thriving because of its ability to attract and create regional hubs of bioscience activity.  According to a recent study,

36,000 people are employed in Wisconsin’s bioscience sector, with a total direct and indirect economic impact of 105,000 jobs in the state1.  The economic output of these employees is measured at $27 billion, with $716 million in total state and local tax revenues generated.

The business of stem cell bioscience and regenerative medicine is growing rapidly. Reported industry revenues for stem cell-based products in the United States totaled $974,000 in 2005, and increased dramatically to $36.9 million two years later in 2007.  By 2020, stem cell industry revenues are projected to exceed $20 billion.  The rapid growth of stem cell-based industries will undoubtedly give rise to an increasing demand for specialized education and skills in many areas of the country.  

Madison College’s project to create educational opportunities in the stem cell and regenerative medicine demands direct engagement of our industry and commercial stakeholders to develop new public-private partnerships that fuel our bioeconomy. Support from industry and academic partners for this initiative is unprecedented.  Since 2011, we have received more than $320,000 in scientific equipment, specialized media, reagents and supplies from local biotechnology companies (Promega, Cellular Dynamics International, WiCell Research Institute, Thermo Fisher, Cell Line Genetics, and Primorigen).  We originated a campaign with community and technical colleges across the nation in an effort to scale up and create a broader impact through program adoption.  In June 2014 and 2015, a total of 50 national biotechnology program educators have participated in a one-week Stem Cell Summit at Madison College and were provided access to all course resources and hands-on training in our ACCES teaching facility. Several institutions have already begun incorporating our curricula. To facilitate dissemination, we have partnered with the NSF Next Generation National ATE Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences (Bio-Link). Bio-Link’s key activities are to (i) increase the number and diversity of well educated technicians in the workforce, (ii) meet the ever-growing needs of a continually evolving and diversifying industry for highly educated technicians and (iii) institutionalize community college educational practices that make high-quality education and training in the concepts, tools, skills, processes, regulatory structure and ethics of biotechnology available to all students.  

Key STEM Programs

Stem cells and stem cell technologies offer tremendous promise to revolutionize our understanding of the causes of disease and disorders, and they can be used to guide researchers toward new and effective methods to treat conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease and more. Current applications for stem cells and regenerative medicine include synthetic skin replacement for burn victims, cell-based therapeutics for spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and macular degeneration.  These emerging areas of research and development have created a growing demand for well-qualified employees with specialized skills and competencies to advance stem cell bioscience.

In 2011, Madison College received an $851,454 National Science Foundation Advanced Technology Education award to develop, deliver and disseminate up-to-date instructional materials in the area of stem cells and regenerative medicine (DUE 1104210)2.  These materials are focused on workforce-centered skills and competencies alongside critical considerations of ethical and social issues. As part of our NSF-funded project, we created a variety of learning opportunities in this area, including a two-semester (32-week) Stem Cell Certificate, five-day Stem Cell Short course, and a one-day Stem Cell Short course. Our educational offerings initially targeted students, but we later expanded our efforts to inform, educate and encourage faculty across the nation to integrate our materials into their currently existing curriculum.  By preparing faculty from around the country to teach about stem cells and regenerative medicine the impact of our project extends far beyond the borders of our institution. To support these efforts, Madison College invested in the construction of a 2,744 sq.ft. Advanced Cell Culture Education Suite (ACCES) that is modeled after commercial and industry stem cell laboratories.  This facility is the centerpiece for program development, community outreach, and curriculum dissemination and scale-up.

To date, four cohorts of students have completed the 32-week Stem Cell Certificate, with a 96 percent placement rate in career-track positions in the biotech industry. One-hundred percent of the certificate program students and their employers report complete satisfaction with the training, skills acquired and relevance to workplace responsibilities.

In addition, through workshops, conferences and educational forums, we have provided more than 500 community college and K-12 educators with information, educational materials and resources to adopt and integrate curricula in Stem Cell Science into their classrooms.  It is estimated that more than 24,000 students are served through this grant annually. This educator-based network was enabled, in part, through synergy with the NSF ATE Bio-Link National Center for Excellence in Biotechnology and Life Sciences.

The project outcomes include access to sophisticated technologies that emerge from pioneering university research lab and industry partners to an expanded population of individuals in the technical college and community at large.  Several unexpected positive outcomes were also identified. We originally focused on pre-professional education to prepare students for employment in our burgeoning stem cell industry.  We did not, however, anticipate the power of stem cells and regenerative medicine to create enthusiasm among people of all ages and backgrounds.  Throughout this project, we provided community-based workshops, presentations and events on an ad hoc basis.  In total, we participated in more than 100 outreach events, plus 30 career pathway days attended by 2,000-plus students. A substantial number of these students come from underrepresented, diverse communities or economically disadvantaged and underserved populations.  These efforts ignited college-wide initiatives to promote STEM-career pathways that directly address the achievement gap in our disadvantaged and underprivileged communities.

In September 2015, Madison College was awarded a $651,000 NSF ATE grant to continue national scale-up efforts of our workforce-centered Stem Cell Education Initiative (DUE 1501553)3. For the past three years, City College of San Francisco (CCSF) and Madison College have each conducted separate projects relating to stem cell technologies and regenerative medicine. The CCSF project focused on high school outreach to attract students to the community college environment and foster interest in STEM careers. The Madison College project focused largely on pre-professional education and workforce development pathways. The collaboration between CCSF and Madison College builds on the momentum and connections that these earlier projects have generated to customize existing materials for different educational audiences, develop additional modular instructional materials, provide professional development and disseminate materials effectively so that educators are empowered to adopt and adapt them. In addition, moving beyond traditional dissemination, we plan to scale the project impact by fostering a web-based learning community of educators who will take ownership of our products and further develop and disseminate stem cell education throughout the nation.

The proposed project is organized around four main directives:

I. Refine, update, and disseminate existing comprehensive, sequential pre-professional stem cell technologies curricula that have been shown to successfully prepare students for careers in this field.

II. Develop and disseminate instructional materials in a modular format that use non-human cell culture and stem cell systems for those college-level programs that want to integrate stem cell biology/technology into a variety of courses.

III. Harness the excitement and interest generated by stem cells and regenerative medicine to motivate students in grades 8-12 and increase their participation in STEM.

IV. Scale the impact of project efforts through building and maintaining a virtual community of practice for educators.


Communications and Social Media Contact Person

Cary Heyer, APR, MASL

Director – Communications and Strategic Marketing

Office: (608) 246-6443

Mobile: (608) 769-3344




LinkedIn: Madison College


1Ernst & Young, 2014.  Study comissioned by BioForward

2NSF ATE DUE 1104210: Development of a Technical Program in Stem Cell Technologies: Responding to an Emerging Need. PI, T. Tubon.

3NSF ATE DUE 1501553: Scaling Implementation of Stem Cell Technical Education: A Collaborative Project. PI, T. Tubon.

1701 Wright St
Madison, WI 53704
United States
(608) 246-6100