University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Center for Economic Development

Why you should consider this program

Are you passionate about urban economic and community development?  If YES, this may be the Fellows Program for you.  The objective of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (UWM) Economic Development Fellows is to contribute to the improvement of Milwaukee’s central cities.  Fellows in the UWM Economic Development Fellows Program become experts in community based economic development and issues facing the city of Milwaukee.  Our alumni are city and national leaders in their fields.

The Economic Development Fellows Program (ED) will add significant value to your Master’s degree.  You will work in a central city non-profit or community based organization for 21 months, while you are pursuing your Master’s degree.  Your community work placement will align with your academic and career interests.

The UWM Economic Development Fellows Program is a 21-month fellowship opportunity that combines work in a community-based organization with graduate level study at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Individuals with a strong interest in economic development issues will find this program to be excellent in both practical and theoretical training. 

The UWM Center for Economic Development houses the Economic Development Fellows Program.  One core objective of the Center for Economic Development is to assist local nonprofit organizations in achieving their neighborhood economic development goals.  Each year two to three new ED Fellows are selected in a competitive process.

Benefits for Coverdell Fellows

Tuition/fees for Complete Program Value of Coverdell Fellowship Net cost *
In state $ 23,720 $ 20,772 $ 2,948
Out of state $ 49,796 $ 46,848 $ 2,948
* Net cost is equal to tuition/fees minus fellowship value. For some universities, the fellowship value includes non-tuition/fee benefits such as health insurance or housing—see the first point below for more details.

Where the cost savings value of the Coverdell Fellowship comes from

100% tuition waiver plus paid community work placement.  Work placement is 20 hours per week during academic year and 30 hours per week during the summer.

Fellowships awarded per year (average)


Other benefits or opportunities

  • Health insurance coverage. 
  • Book allowance/professional development allowance of $250 per year = $500 total

Annual cost of living (estimated)

$ 15,000

Application fee waived?



Fellows are assigned to a participating community organization where they work side-by-side with agency leaders and staff in achieving their economic development objectives. Fellows work part-time at a single organization for the entire 21 months of their fellowship. 

During their fellowships, the students pursue studies in economic development-related fields while providing local organizations with much needed staff expertise on various initiatives. In the neighborhoods of Milwaukee's central city, there is a clear need for sustained economic development assistance, and ED Fellows can play a major role -during their graduate careers as well as after-in enhancing community economic development capacity in Milwaukee.

Jobs for program alumni

  • Executive Director, Solar Foundation
  • Milwaukee River Watershed Conservation Partnership Director, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District
  • Chief Operating Officer, Riverworks Development Corporation
  • Human Resources Director, YWCA of Milwaukee
  • Head of refugee programming, International Institute of Wisconsin
  • City planner, City of Milwaukee, Department of City Development
  • Environmental Specialist, Walnut Way Conservation Corp

Other details

Program length

Two Years

Application requirements

  • GRE
  • Undergraduate transcript
  • Personal essay

Admissions process

Fellows candidates must apply separately to:

  • UWM Graduate School
  • Economic Development Fellows Program. 

Once a candidate has been admitted into UWM Graduate School, the application to the Economic Development Fellows Program will be reviewed.

Program begins

September 1

Year Coverdell Fellows partnership started



Lisa Heuler Williams, Fellows Program Coordinator

Consortium for Economic Opporutnity University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201