Green Bay, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Rising Phoenix Program announces a new partnership with CONNECT, powered by American Family Insurance, to expand Rising Phoenix with the Green Bay Area Public School District, giving underserved and underrepresented students access to early college credit. CONNECT will provide funds to support students in the program over the next two years, increasing total program enrollment to 126 students for fall 2021.
UW-Green Bay, CONNECT and American Family Insurance are aligned in their missions to “inspire, protect and restore dreams by creating more equitable communities.”
“This partnership with CONNECT fulfills major priorities for UW-Green Bay,” said UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander. “By uniting with CONNECT, we can collectively strive to close the equity gap. This expansion of Rising Phoenix will give more students an opportunity to jumpstart their college degrees, to reduce time to degree completion and to minimize college debt.”
“We believe in creating societal change through meaningful partnerships like this one,” said Sharena Ali, president of De Pere, Wisconsin-based CONNECT. “We want to do what we can to ensure our customers and communities have the ability and access to make their dreams possible, especially those traditionally overlooked.”
CONNECT’s financial support of the program includes funds from its parent company, American Family Insurance. “Equity in education fuels a diverse workforce, which in turn builds stronger, thriving families and communities,” said Steve Amundson, who coordinates American Family’s partnerships with universities and colleges. “The Rising Phoenix program aligns with that belief and we are proud to support it.”
The partnership will involve more than providing deserving students an advanced learning pathway to UW-Green Bay. A group of UW-Green Bay alumni who work at CONNECT will also serve as mentors to the students, offering valuable insights and guidance on their development and possible future careers.
Alexander said this is the first time a corporate sponsor has provided financial support to Rising Phoenix and hopes it will serve as a model for future corporate partnerships. “Partnerships with corporations and future employers for our students will allow for a collaborative force to solve problems for the good of communities throughout Wisconsin and beyond.”
Rising Phoenix has experienced significant growth since its inaugural student cohort in Fall 2020. The program is active in Manitowoc Lincoln High School, Mishicot High School, Two Rivers High School and target schools with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s GEAR UP program, including the Green Bay Area Public School District, School District of Ashland, Milwaukee Public Schools, Shawano School District and the Wausau School District.
With the consistent support of a UW-Green Bay Student Success Coach, Rising Phoenix enrolls students concurrently in their high school and at any one of UW-Green Bay’s campus locations or online during their junior and senior years of high school. Rising Phoenix courses are selected to meet Wisconsin high school graduation requirements and the UW-Green Bay Associate of Arts and Sciences (AAS) degree requirements.
To learn more about the program and partnership, visit the Rising Phoenix website at www.uwgb.edu/rising-phoenix/partnerships.