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“At EmpowerMe, we’re bridging the gap between book smart and life smart.”

Joe Villmow

EmpowerMe Founder and President

Foundation Programs

Gone are the days when college textbook skills offered a passport to success. Unemployment and underemployment rates for recent college graduates are stagnating in the double digits. That’s scary news if you are a college junior or senior. Meanwhile, business executives report that far too many college graduates lack the people skills necessary to contribute to workplace success. That’s bad news for employers. 


Our nonprofit foundation offers a win-win for students and employers alike. Participating students get a head start in career development, and employers gain a pool of candidates possessing skills that are crucial to helping businesses and organizations achieve their goals.


How We Do It

EmpowerMe students master the skills needed to understand themselves, connect with others, adapt to change, accelerate their careers, and most importantly, reach their personal potential.  While soft skills are often difficult to evaluate, our integrated programming has been developed with four clear and measurable skills that are essential to empowering success:

EmpowerMe’s evaluation measures serve many purposes. They hold students accountable for their learning and their actions. The evaluation scorecard serves as a guidepost for our volunteer mentors and our curriculum. This tool gives us insights into how our programming can be improved. Lastly, these measures help us align our foundation to assure that we are truly empowering students to succeed. 








Any Milwaukee area student who is a junior or senior in college is welcome to apply as an EmpowerMe participant, although priority is given to students who represent the first generation in their family to attend college.

Evaluation Measures





Mentoring Program

Career Insights and Guidance from Professionals

Behind each successful person are mentors who helped clear the pathway. EmpowerMe’s mentoring program pairs each student with an individual who has achieved success in the workplace. Through this professional relationship, students have opportunities to discover their talents, explore possible careers, hone their soft skills, receive guidance, and gain wisdom from their mentors’ experience and lessons learned in the workplace. Contact us to learn how you can become a mentor.


Soft Skills Curriculum

Attributes for Workplace Success

EmpowerMe students participate in a 10 month course designed to help them better understand themselves and the personal attributes that characterize their relationships with other people. This soft skills curriculum includes defining personal mission statements and instilling core interpersonal traits that students need to succeed in the workplace--and in life.


Networking Program

Soft Skills Applications

Understanding soft skills is one aspect of growth. Applying these skills in the real world is another. Through workshops and one-on-one instruction, students first learn how to meet and interact with people on a professional level. Then students put these new skills to work at networking events sponsored by businesses, professional associations and organizations, as well as at events and programs facilitated by the EmpowerMe Foundation. Contact us to learn how you can sponsor a networking event.


Community Service

Growth Through Giving

At EmpowerMe, we believe that giving back to the community is the greatest good. Students are expected to participate in community service projects to give them first-hand experiences in helping others and improving their communities. Students are strongly encouraged to develop their own community service projects to help them build attributes such as leadership, teamwork and problem solving.



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