Dr. Jack E. Daniels III is a very busy man. It’s not just his job of president as Madison College that keeps him that way. When he came to Madison in 2013, he quickly realized that there were needs outside the college environment and beyond the existing campuses. Thus, began the fight for what would become the Southside Goodman Campus.
The impetus for the Goodman Campus was need. According to Daniels, “The needs we saw were in the gaps. The gaps were there in terms of employment, the gaps were there in training, the gaps were there in terms of who was accessing our colleges and primarily those gaps were within communities of color. We wanted to bring the institution to that community.”
Economic development was another driver. Development has traditionally been minimal in the South Park Street area. Some people were, and are, working two or three different Jobs ̶ lows-killed jobs that didn’t create family-sustaining income, so training was a critical factor. Daniels saw an opportunity to drive that by engaging more essential partners. These were partnerships with Centro Hispanic, The Urban League of Greater Madison and some businesses, but it wasn’t enough. He saw the opportunity for Madison College to be a major partner in both economic and community development.
Moreover, Daniels sees the Goodman Campus as a catalyst for change. Daniels pointed out that South Park Street is a medical corridor so there is a constant need for nurses, medical assistants, physicians’ assistants and other staff. The Goodman Campus is a post-secondary facility to give people of color an opportunity to train into those jobs right in their community. The same holds true for jobs in technology fields with businesses such as Exact Sciences, Epic and American Family insurance.
Daniels explained the third aspect of The Goodman Campus’ contribution to addressing the South Park Street community’s needs, “We also have an entrepreneurial center. I thought it was very important that we partnered with the Chambers of Commerce to connect with business owners who want to enhance their businesses or with people who want to start a business and then provide them with supplemental services to them to assist with that.”
Daniels them talked about what he sees for the future of the South Side, “There are strong organizations, faith-based organizations, that are doing great things. What is the alignment that we have to have? What is going to be the joint vision? If we’re going to have a comprehensive vision for South Madison we need to be aligned. We need to have that coalition. We need to deal with housing issues, with vacant land and with food insecurity.”
Daniels explained how they will assess success, “Our first success is that we are here. The second is the partnerships that we have already formed especially with Centro Hispanic, the Black Chamber, The Urban League and the Cultural Center. How do you add to that? The key thing that needs to be done is what is the plan of action? What is the timetable? How is it going to be done and how are you going to assess it? Once you can answer those questions, you can start to build. What are the tangible things?”