MATC program for those with autism

A pilot program at Milwaukee Area Technical College is focused on capitalizing on skillsets and creating viable careers for individuals with autism.  

An estimated one in 50 children fall on the autism spectrum, and this program answers a huge call to provide career potential.  

The students learn the ins and outs of manual machines before moving tocoding.

"They learn the tooling that’s actually sitting in front of us," said Dale Howser Sr., instructor. "They learn how to do speeds, feeds, different types of tools, do blueprint reading. They also learn from math that’s coinciding." 

Howser Sr. said in fall 2021, a different group will take over the equipment.  

"They are very high IQ on what they’re working with," said Howser Sr.  

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MATC's "Uniquely Abled Academy" will train individuals with high-functioning autism to become computer numerical controls, or CNC manufacturing machine operators, according to Laura Bray.

"Really unlock the potential that people have, the talents, the gifts they have, and show the world and match with the needs of the workforce that are here in our community," said Bray. "They actually have extremely and high attention to detail, really like to be able to perform repeated tasks and really enjoy working with computers and precision."

The 16-week program will give graduates training and credentials to help them land high-paying, high-demand machining jobs.  

"There’s high unemployment in our community and in the nation for those that are on the autism spectrum and it doesn’t have to be that way," said Bray.

MATC is also taking efforts toward students' success outside of the classroom.  

"We are doing training for faculty and others in the college to really raise their awareness of working with people on the autism spectrum," said Bray.

By the end of the semester, the students would have created their own CNC program, utilizing their extraordinary abilities.  

"They have high-level scale that they can bring to the table," said Bray.

A virtual information session for prospective students and their families will be held Thursday, May 20 at 6 p.m. 

Individuals interested in participating in this program should contact Heather Lorbiecki at or 414-297-6962.  

Individuals interested in making a donation to project the UAA project should contact Monika Walloch at or 414-297-8514.