About Madison College

Madison College is a world-class community college in Madison, Wisconsin. For more than 100 years, MATC has offered educational opportunities to a wide variety of students with varying educational needs. 

Students can earn an associate degree, technical diploma or a certificate in more than 150 programsNearly half go on to earn an advanced degree through more than 150 college transfer pathways.

Madison Area Technical College helps students with job placement through established partnerships with the business community. An impressive 93% of MATC graduates find jobs within six months.

Madison College is also a great place to work and teach.

Learn more about Madison College's mission, vision, and values.

History

Today we're known for our real-world, smart approach to learning – offering students innovative, high-tech career programs and college transfer opportunities. But since our humble trade school beginnings in 1912, Madison College has reflected the world around it.

  • The Beginning

    Madison College began in 1912 as the Madison Continuation School, providing vocational education to 14- to 16-year-old dropouts. Adult workers were interested in learning skills and techniques to help them advance in their current jobs or obtain new ones. Citizenship and homemaking classes were added to serve the city’s Italian and Jewish immigrant population.

    In 1921, the school moved into its own building and was renamed Madison Vocational School. 

  • Evolving with the Times

    By 1930, it became clear that more and more adult students were taking classes at the Madison Vocational School in order to transfer to the University of Wisconsin. 

    In the 1930s, our school responded to the Great Depression by increasing craft offerings, with an emphasis on millinery, woodworking and chair-caning. Increasing our adult and continuing education helped us survive this period when community colleges around the United States were folding. To reflect that adults, more than students of traditional college age, were a growing percentage of the student body, we were renamed the Madison Vocational and Adult School.

    Thanks to federal funding of “National Defense” courses, the Madison Vocational and Adult School offered courses 24 hours a day during the 1942-43 academic year. Courses that met on the third shift taught skills necessary for wartime jobs, mostly in manufacturing. 

    Madison’s emergence as a regional center for hospitals and medical research after the war prompted the expansion of the school’s health occupation programs. Increased opportunities in skilled trades led to the building of a second campus on Madison’s Commercial Avenue.

    In the 1960s, the school created more courses and a coherent two-year program that could transfer to four-year colleges, becoming an accredited community college. Starting in 1966, we started offering college-transfer courses, a track that would grow into one of the college’s most popular programs.

    Wisconsin began consolidating its city-based technical institutes into regional networks of colleges, with central and satellite campuses. District 4 of the Wisconsin Technical College System became known as Madison Area Technical College and included existing colleges in Fort Atkinson, Portage, Reedsburg and Watertown. 

  • Growing to Meet Community Needs

    By the late 1970s, it was clear that the main Downtown Madison campus was too small to meet the increased demand for training. MATC built a new main campus at Truax Field, a former Air Force base adjoining the Dane County Regional Airport in 1986. Classes began at the new site a year later. The new building offered more space to meet the needs of more students. 

    Approaching the new century, Madison College continued to update curriculum, programs and facilities to keep pace with changing technology  adding new programs in cutting-edge fields such as biotechnology and renewable energy. Working through partnerships with the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee School of Engineering and several other institutions, the college also added expanded college transfer opportunities.

    Today, Madison College continues to offer training for “gold-collar” jobs in the current economy and prepares even more students for careers in the skilled trades and culinary arts, or for transfer to four-year colleges.