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Madison Apprenticeship Program's Fourth Anniversary

Posted by Brandy McClernan on February 7, 2012 at 4:00 PM

When Diana Shinall was sitting on the Madison

Community Services Commission several years ago,

there was all of the talk about the problems in Allied

Drive and how they were going to be solved with the

apartment construction and the building of the Boys &

Girls Club. But she was thinking something else. “My

thought was ‘That’s great, but unless we help the people,

it won’t mean anything,’” Shinall said. As an African

American woman who had experienced and overcome

her own personal issues in the past, Shinall decided to

do something about it.

With an idea, a hope and a prayer and a shoe-string budget, Shinall established the Madison Apprenticeship Program MAP four years ago in the

Allied Drive neighborhood. MAP is a 12-week motivational program that also provides life-skill training. When she set up the program, Shinall took

all the excuses away because she had used them herself in the past.

“We’ll take away ‘I can’t come because it’s dinner time,’ so we’ll feed them,” Shinall as MAP’s four year celebration on July 25 near their

offices at 4633A Verona Road. “They’ll say ‘I can’t come because I have children,’ so we’ll give them child care. Now keep in mind that I didn’t have

any money. I just got this idea and I had the will. And I said we wouldn’t do it during traditional times. We wouldn’t do it in the morning because they

would say ‘I can’t get up.’ Now these are folks who aren’t working. So we did it from 5-9 p.m.”

During the past four years, MAP has worked with 100 people in helping them better their own lives. Brandy McClerman was an unemployed

mother of three who had no electricity in her house and was on the verge of getting evicted. She hadn’t worked in years. All of that changed after

she became involved in MAP. “I’ve been employed for a year now with MAP and T.J. Support Brokerage firm,” McClerman said. “It helped me get

secured financially. It helped me get into a bank account. It helped me learn how to budget my finances. It helped my attitude because I got a job.

And then I got employed part time and then three months later, I got a raise to administration assistant. Now I have business cards and everything.”

Florenzo Cribbs, the president of the Allied Drive-Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood Association also got a restart through MAP. “A lot of the things I’m

doing now, I wouldn’t have done if it weren’t for MAP such as being president of the neighborhood association,” Cribbs emphasized. “I’m on the

board of the Allied Wellness Center, the Dane County Time Bank and the Allied Partnership toward Recovery. All of these things were more

prominent once I became a MAP student. What has the impact been in MAP? We have people who work for, who graduated from MAP, who are

working for major newspapers. We have some who have gone on to the UW. They are pursuing degrees. I start the UW Odyssey Project this fall and

I wouldn’t have done any of those things if it weren’t for MAP. There was a guy who graduated in my class who never had a real job until he went to

MAP. He sold drugs. He got a job in between with MAP and he’s been working there ever since. He said that he would have never thought of doing

those things if it weren’t for the Madison Apprenticeship Program. So when people ask me what motivated me to do the things that I’ve done, I

always tell them that it is the MAP in me.”

Alder Brian Solomon, who represents the Allied Drive area, has been watching the impact on people in Allied Drive. He is a firm believer in

MAP. “We talk about basic services,” Solomon said. “This is what basic service is all about. It’s about prevention, going out and helping people

who want to make a difference and want to get their lives back on the right path. That’s exactly what MAP does. We have MAP graduates who are

going on to tech college, going on to get their apprenticeship and get jobs. Other people have just gone on and found employment. It truly has made

a difference in our community. It’s something we need to keep investing in and not be cutting back on.”

Madison Apprenticeship Program is helping to turn the Allied Drive neighborhood around from the inside out, one person at a time.

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