Issue 18 - April 15, 2020   
It’s astonishing how much the world has changed and I hope you and your families are staying well during this challenging time.

In this issue of MKE Tech News, you’ll see awesome examples of how individuals and organizations are making our tech and innovation community better ….from fighting isolation with virtual happy hours and workshops to utilizing tech and innovation skills for problem solving around COVID-19 impacts and so much more.

These are short-term actions to address today’s conditions, but our long-term objective of doubling the state's tech workforce by 2025 remains the same. In fact, we believe the need for tech talent and workforce transformation is increasing as organizations accelerate digital transformation . I’ve met with many of you to listen and understand how we can amplify successes, help accelerate programs and identify/fill gaps. We’re leveraging that input to transform our strategic lanes into action. For example:
  • Laura Schmidt joined the Coalition staff as Chief Talent Development Officer. She’ll drive our strategic focus on K-20 and reskilling to advance the tech skills development of the region’s existing talent.
  • We completed the pilot for our ideas-stage startup incubator, FOR|M, with approximately 40% of original participants intending to continue progressing their new business ventures. Shout out to The Commons and We Pivot for helping to “pivot” our final two weeks due to the pandemic.
  • Our member-based committees launched. Focusing on our strategic areas, these groups will help us prioritize our efforts and develop creative solutions to position Milwaukee as a tech hub, leveraging subject matter experts from the ecosystem.

Additionally, I’d like to welcome six new Bronze Members to the Coalition ( 88Nine , Codeworks , FIS , NVISIA , Landmark Credit Union and West Bend Mutual ).

I'm so proud to be part of the #mketech community. Although I wish we could be together in person, I’m thankful technology helps us stay connected and hope you'll also take a few minutes to watch my video message. In the meantime, I welcome your feedback and suggestions.

Kathy Henrich, CEO
We’re seeing some amazing spirit, creativity and grit from the MKE tech community. MKE Tech News salutes the people and organizations ramping up to virtually keep folks connected and in business. 
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition is leveraging foundation funding from Johnson Controls , Northwestern Mutual and Rockwell Automation to help send iPad and Chromebooks to Milwaukee Public School middle schoolers who otherwise wouldn't have access to e-learning technology. Cascade Asset Management has been a fantastic partner by donating portions of the equipment and configuration services. We'd like to thank and welcome Cascade to the Coalition as a Community Member.

The Commons has moved all programming online and continues operations during COVID-19. We’ve also launched a new weekly virtual innovation series,  Isolation Innovation . The two-hour sessions are designed to help you stay connected, sharp and sane during this time of isolation. Open to students and professionals alike, the program explores new, innovation tactics. Register here for upcoming Friday events.

New on STEM Forward's Website! Check out the Online Resources for Educators and Parents for a host of STEM activities, including virtual field trips for elementary, middle and high school students.  

The PUMP-CS initiative provides free computer science workshops to K12 educators based on curriculum. The goal is to increase the number of educators confident teaching computer science to our community's youth. Members of the WI Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) are actively sharing resources as teachers move to virtual learning.  also has posted additional resources for parents and teachers facing school closures.  

Microsoft TEALS is working with current volunteers to support classes remotely on an ad hoc basis. The organization has resources to support remote instruction, including tutorials using an online classroom platform. Additionally, a Remote Learning page has been set up. Finally, TEALS is actively looking for volunteers for the 2020-2021 school year. For more information, please contact Marlena Eanes .

Looking for Coding Lessons for Your Students? Join MSOE’s Girls Who Code Club! MSOE is extending its Girls Who Code HQ learning portal access to ANY student of any gender identity! Join the portal to get free access to self-guided lessons in everything from Scratch (intro level programming - no experience required) to building chatbots, apps and more using Python (advanced level programming). Sign up for your free access to the coding portal.

Islands of Brilliance (IOB) recently launched Virtual Brilliance . The suite of online programming delivers the IOB experience developed specifically for children and young adults on the autism spectrum to both current students and the community at large. Check out the full library of episodes on the Islands of Brilliance YouTube channel .
Free remote assistance tools help manufacturers keep running. Rockwell Automation is offering free access to Vuforia Chalk in partnership with PTC through June 30, 2020. Vuforia Chalk leverages augmented reality to connect employees in different physical locations with collaborative operation, maintenance and repair of products of all kinds. Meant for industrial environments, it allows you to support remote workflows, training and plant-floor communications. Check here for more details. 
Imagine you are unable to feel the tips of your fingers, have blurred vision or are hard of hearing. There is a sensory kit that local company Home Instead Senior Care wants everyone to know about. The Cedarburg company's general manager spoke to us last Tuesday, March 10 to share how millions of seniors live with sensory issues every day. This is all the more reason why we need to look out for them during this pandemic.
Introducing NEWaukee’s Cloud Café Series , Milwaukee’s online platform for connectors and creators delivers new ways to connect to community resources, amazing content and your peers - all virtually. Initial features include:

  • NEWaukee’s Slack Workspace: Sharing resources and checking in on one another. Join Today
  • Curated Meetups: Times to connect over morning coffee, a lunch break or after work happy-hour! Get Updates
  • Virtual Events: Performances, speaker series and wellness programs. Get Updates
Radio Milwaukee i s coming up with new ways to connect socially through programming on-air and online, including a new virtual hangout series, Wanna Grab Coffee? Radio Milwaukee shares a portion of its building with Stone Creek Coffee where people gather to work, socialize, and share experiences. Virtual hangouts are designed to recreate that experience!
Code for Milwaukee held a COVID-19 Response Meetup consisting of an educational panel and brainstorming session. Twelve speakers, ranging from government officials, doctors and researchers to small business and project leaders who are already building solutions, all shared their perspective on how COVID19 is affecting our community. Attendees also came together in ten breakout groups to start brainstorming ideas and creating solutions. You can watch a replay of the meetup . Check out the COVID19 Response Initiative for more information or join the weekly COVID19 Response Meetup on Saturday mornings to contribute.
i.c.stars has gone virtual! We’re piloting virtual thought leadership and digital networking at the HR Roundtable panel on April 21st to discuss diversity, inclusion and talent retention. Plus, we now have virtual opportunities to help prep interns for a successful job search. Be sure to sign-up for any or all of the following virtual opportunities:

Weekday afternoons

Pick a 30-minute slot between 04/22/20 - Fri 04/24/20 | 12:00 - 1:30 pm

05/13/20 | 8:45 - 10:00 am OR 11:45 am - 1:00 pm

06/02/20 - 06/04/20 | 8:30 - 9:30 am
NCWIT Wisconsin Aspirations in Computing awards . The May 3 awards event at MSOE was cancelled. All 102 girls and K12 educators who were to be honored will still receive their trophy, a gift package and a 40-page recognition booklet designed by MATC graphic arts students.

Please contact Laura Schmidt to discuss opportunities to get involved or support the girls honored by the Aspirations in Computing program.
Free virtual expert mentoring program. SCORE, a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, is the nation’s largest network of expert business mentors with more than 10,000 volunteers helping over 10 million entrepreneurs through free mentoring, workshops and online educational resources. Last year in Wisconsin, the program helped 230 entrepreneurs open over 430 new businesses and hire an additional 1,500 new employees.

SCORE’s experienced business mentors have in-depth technical and diverse industry experience. Many have started small businesses or held senior positions in larger organizations. Visit to learn more about mentoring and the recent COVID-19 Survival Strategies  series for small businesses. For more information, contact David Maaske .
The Wisconsin COVID-19 Startup Talent  job exchange helps entrepreneurs move into new roles in technology, startup jobs and corporate innovation. You can help:

  • If you are hiring, upload your opportunities here. Also, please consider looking at a local candidate in search of work. You can view candidates by using the password: WIJOBS.
  • If you are reducing staff, please consider sharing this page with your team members.
  • If you are a venture fund, please consider sharing the site with your portfolio companies either hiring or reducing staff. 
Emergency Response Program for small business/startups affected by COVID-19. Gener8tor, a Milwaukee-based, nationally ranked startup accelerator, is hosting a series of free webinars and office hours for startups and small businesses affected by COVID-19. The one-week program will consist of daily webinars led by community experts and one-on-one office hours with the gener8tor team to address specific questions.

Webinar topics include:
  • Step-by-step process of determining eligibility and applying for SBA programs
  • Civic, philanthropic and state emergency relief resources
  • Navigating changes required by new laws
  • Federal emergency relief programs and local support
  • Mental health and wellness resources for small business owners

Businesses can enroll in the Emergency Response Program here .
Local startups are applying their entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity to quickly develop innovative solutions that are helping combat the pandemic. Checkout Startup Milwaukee’s recent newsletter to find out how you might be able to benefit from some of the amazing efforts underway. Startup Milwaukee's Founder's Circle also is holding bi-weekly virtual happy hours for the region's tech company founders. Apply here
Newance , a talent strategy and consulting firm, is offering free virtual HR office hours for business owners and leaders. Topics range from team communications and morale to hiring remotely and making tough decisions. Sessions are one-half hour. Sign up here .
The Milwaukee Business Journal, along with parent company American City Business Journals, is compiling a Small Business Resource Guide to assist during these challenging times .
Brew City Match   will offer a total of $150,000 in loans and grants to help small businesses in certain parts of Milwaukee overcome closures and temporary revenue loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is providing $5 million in funding through its Small Business 20/20 program that provides grants to targeted businesses throughout Wisconsin to help offset losses related to coronavirus response measures, the organization announced recently.

If you have opportunities to get involved in tech, tech resources, news articles or story ideas you’d like to share with the tech community on , please reach out to: .
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Remember to stay connected with the MKE tech community through or #MKEtech.