The Commons Pilot to Launch

Program involves College Students in Innovation Process
By UW-Washington County

CommonsThe University of Wisconsin-Washington County is one of nine college campuses joining forces with the local business community and the region’s entrepreneurs to launch The Commons Pilot. Modeled after the successful Milwaukee Commons project, the bold collaboration will engage up to 50 talented and motivated students in five areas of innovation challenges. Students will tackle real problems from local companies relating to one of five areas that include engineering, healthcare, retail, social, and tech, while learning entrepreneurial skills and building network connections. Fifteen local professionals from a variety of backgrounds will be assigned to the student teams and serve as mentors for the overall process.

In addition to UW-WC, students from Lakeland University, Lakeshore Technical College, Marian University, Moraine Park Technical College, Silver Lake College, UW-Fond du Lac, UW-Manitowoc and UW-Sheboygan will participate.

Jake’s Café, in downtown Sheboygan (529 Ontario Street) will serve as the location for two day-long programs on Sunday, March 19 and Sunday, April 2, with two weeks allowed in between these dates for student teams to meet.

Dr. Jackie Joseph-Silverstein, Regional Executive Officer, has been active in bringing the Commons pilot to this region. She stated, “I am thrilled that the Commons is coming to this area. In talking with students who have participated in the Milwaukee Commons projects, it is clearly a transformational experience for them. They gain confidence in their own problem-solving and creative abilities, while at the same time, through work with students from different disciplines and level of education, they become open to the idea that there are many ways to approach a problem.”

Interested students can learn more and apply online at  The deadline for applications is March 10 and there is no cost to participate.  Spots are limited, with approximately 6-8 students accepted from each participating school. Area firms interested in participating should email Program Director Joe Poeschl,

UW-WC is located at 400 S. University Drive in West Bend. It is one of the 14 two-year campuses in Wisconsin that make up the UW Colleges, offering small class sizes and the lowest tuition in the UW System. To learn more, visit the website,


Sue Bausch, Regional Director of Communications