MKE Tech News
Issue 36 - October 15th, 2021
“I can’t find talent in WI” is the way that I started a recent column for the Wisconsin Tech Council. And quickly stated that this should be “I can’t find talent in WI or anywhere”. With a 1.5% US unemployment rate in tech, our collaboration is a region is more critical than ever!  
This is the reason that the MKE Tech Hub Coalition invests in multiple strategies for talent including: 

  • BUILD: Such as in our recent announcements around apprenticeships
  • GROW: See the stats on our Summer Talent Accelerator below
  • ATTRACT:  An exciting announcement about an investment that will help us collectively attract talent to the region is coming soon! 
  • RETAIN: Through skills development, community and engagement such as the opportunities provided via MKE Tech Week
  • INNOVATE: Talent want to work for innovative companies and solve “problems that matter” Join us for Reverse Pitch to get the opportunity to grow entrepreneurial skills! 
Together, we can build strategies to address this talent shortage.  Join us virtually on 10/25 from 1-3 to celebrate the collective work of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition, our members, and our partners to drive towards our mission of inclusively doubling tech talent in the region. We look forward to celebrating in person with our members following the virtual event 
We’ll then extend the celebration to the entire community through the Meet the Meetup event which is part of MKE Tech Week Oct 25-30.  During the week, we’ll celebrate tech, innovation, and startups in the entire #mketech region. We thank all of our sponsors including Husch Blackwell and Northwestern Mutual, & Concordia for supporting the programming.   
We look forward to seeing everyone soon!
Coalition Updates
Membership Updates:
Welcome to the Coalition
Welcome to our new MKE Tech Hub Coalition who will contribute to the growth of our collective impact. We welcome three new Community Members: Rex Academy, SEWI ADT, and Expedient
Bold Vision
Showcasing Milwaukee as a Tech Hub
Mark your calendar. #MKETechWeek is right around the corner.
Sign up for one of the 40+ community events between 10/25-10/31 and help celebrate tech and innovation in the Milwaukee tech ecosystem. There’s something for everyone so check out the calendar of events and plan your agenda. 

We will also be hosting our 2-year anniversary event during MKE Tech Week. 
Join us for our virtual session from 1PM-3PM where we celebrate the collective success enabled by the collaboration of our 100+ member organizations and community partners around the common mission of inclusively doubling tech in the region. Special guest Robert Cordova, CTO, Milwaukee Bucks will tell the story of how the Bucks transformed their organization to become a championship team and transferable lessons for our tech ecosystem. Sign up to attend.
Some MKE Tech Hub Coalition Sponsored events you won’t want to miss: 
Developing and Retaining the Next Generation of Tech Talent
To stay up to date on K-20 subcommittee priorities and progress, please check out our web page.
Tech Expo Exceeds Expectations – Demonstrates a commitment to local tech talent development

On September 14, the Coalition hosted our first inaugural MKE Tech Career Expo. The expo was a virtual event powered by Booth Central and sponsored by Northwestern Mutual. This event attracted over 500 registrants who we can continue to engage in the #mketech ecosystem.  We directly connected nearly 300 students and adult learners interested in pursuing tech careers to 42 local organizations (corporate, higher ed, non-profits) as they explored the future of tech jobs together. A total of 48 speakers crowd-sourced keynote and career panel presentations to support that journey.  Students said the Career Expo was a, “Great opportunity for networking with major employers in the Milwaukee Area.”  ICYMI:  All booths and pre-recorded content featured at the Tech Expo is available via Booth Central to view your leisure – just click HERE.
Hour of Tech: Greater MKE Hour of Tech – Registration Reminder 

It’s not too late to join us in this regional initiative to teach an hour of tech to local students during Computer Science week December 6-12. 
You don’t have to know how to code to take part. Tech is embedded in all our key industries and has become a foundational skill to stay competitive in the future. Whether you want to volunteer as an individual, coordinate volunteers for your organization, host an event, or have your students participate – NOW IS THE TIME TO REGISTEREvent hosts should check out the planning guide and work with their teams to register their event. All event registrations are requested by November 5th so we can adequately support your team and promote your involvement and/or any public events. 

For more info, visit our website or contact Kenge Adams at  if you have any questions.
Summer Pre-Internship Program Recognized by MMAC and STEM Forward

This year’s collegiate level summer program was focused on the Ethics and Impact of Data and AI and has been receiving attention across the region.  It was selected as a 2021 MMAC Focus on the Future FINALIST in the Talent category on September 24th and was recently announced as a WINNER in the partnership category for the 2021 STEMMY awards. Representatives from the Coalition and HERA will accept the STEMMY Award at the sySTEMnow Conference on 10/27 during MKE Tech Week.  Highlights from the program include: 

  • Applications from students at 40 different schools 
  • 85 participants with 87% historically underrepresented in tech 
  • 75% earned the first-ever HERA badge 
  • Participants reported the following impact: 
  • 40% increase in perception of region 
  • 22% increase in ability to formulate a 21st century academic and career plan 
  • 19% increase in human literacies 
  • 17% increase in technological literacies 
  • 49% increase in targeted tech skills  
Developing new sources of talent while demonstrating a value for diversity and upward mobility
To stay up to date on Re/Upskilling subcommittee priorities & progress, please check out our web page.
Associated Bank, Medical College of Wisconsin, MARS Solutions Group, Sabhya Technologies join Kohl’s Corp. in the MKE Tech Apprenticeship Network.   
Check out the news on the expansion of Tech Apprenticeships in the Greater Milwaukee Region! It is inspiring to see employers exploring new workforce strategies to supplement traditional recruitment efforts to inclusively double the tech talent in the region. Those interested in being considered for an apprenticeship can apply via Those interested in sponsoring a tech apprentice should contact   
MKE Tech Hub Members – AI Upskilling Opportunity

The MKE Tech Coalition has the opportunity to support member employers upskill their incumbent workforce on Artificial Intelligence competencies. All related instruction costs would be covered by a grant from the Department of Labor.  Some background in Python is preferred or can be provided. If this is something you would like to explore, please contact Laura Schmidt, chief talent development officer, for information on what this partnership might entail.  Related press can be found HERE.
Leveraging cross-industry partnerships to accelerate start up growth and innovation
FOR-M Community Workshop hosted by Hubspot, Monday October 18th (RSVP Here)

Join us for our upcoming FOR-M community workshop on customer acquisition. Hear from Jack Eckblad, Head of Partnerships for Hubspot for Startups discuss how to define and scale your early sales efforts. Community workshops are free and open to the public.
Mark your Calendars: FOR-M Founder Showcase, November 8th (Save your Spot)

The FOR-M incubator is currently in it’s fourth cohort and preparing for their founder showcase event on November 8th. This event is open for all to attend to hear the pitches from founders going through the program.
*MKE Tech Week*
Celebrate the collaboration among technologists, founders, higher ed and corporations during #mketech week!
With MKE Tech Week around the corner, we encourage you to explore the following events happening during tech week hosted by MKE Tech Hub Coalition members:

*Events in gold are hosted by MKE Tech Hub Coalition Members

Mon, October 25th, 2021

Tue, October 26th, 2021

Wed, October 27th, 2021

Thu, October 28th, 2021

Fri, October 29th, 2021

Sat, October 30th, 2021

Coalition Members in Action
UWM Receives Grant to Join National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Extension Service Program 
UW-Milwaukee (UWM) was one of 18 schools nationwide selected to participate in the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) Extension Services program. NCWIT staff will guide a team of faculty and staff, led by CS department chair Professor Susan McRoy, using evidence-based practices for recruiting and retaining women, coordinating efforts across a peer learning community to develop a site specific, measurable, and achievable plan. UWM will join two other universities from other parts of the country to learn from one another.  The initiative supports UWM’s commitment to serve a diverse population; the university recently received a $2M gift from Microsoft CEO/UWM alumnus Satya Nadella and his wife Anu, to increase diversity in tech education. 
Nominations due 10/22 for Wisconsin Inno's 2021 Fire Awards
Wisconsin Inno, is seeking nominations for the annual Fire Awards, a premier program that honors companies and organizations that are heating up the state's startup and technology ecosystem. Deadline extended to 10/22.
Efforts include a startup mentorship program modeled after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Venture Mentoring Service, a data dashboard showing regional startup and investment activity, and a newly-hired "startup storyteller" tasked with writing about local entrepreneurs for a new MMAC website.  A great step forward for the region! 
A collaboration between IMPACT 2-1-1, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Advocate Aurora Health, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County and the Milwaukee Healthcare Partnership allows health care providers and social service workers in Milwaukee to better communicate with each other digitally and to serve patients with a single click. 
River Run's Ray Hampton is combating the digital divide by getting computers into the hands of Milwaukee youth and letting them know that they could have a future in technology as a tech or engineer. 
STEM Forward is thrilled to announce the 2021 Excellence in STEM Award winners, more commonly known as the Stemmy Awards. Please help us congratulate the following: Cedarburg School District for the Education Category, Menomonee Valley Partners for the Employer Category, Stacy Zaja for the Individual Category, and MKE Tech Coalition & Higher Education Regional Alliance for the Partnership Category! Join us on October 27, 2021, for the 18th Annual sySTEMnow Conference to honor all of the Stemmy Award Winners. 
Northwestern Mutual’s hi,Tech team proudly supported the recent Maker Faire Milwaukee, a two-day showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness hosted on the MSOE campus, marking a return to in-public exhibits and outreach to the community. Almost doubling the goal of 2,500 participants, the Faire welcomed more than 4,200 guests in-person with an additional 1,000+ taking part in virtual opportunities. Northwestern Mutual’s Digital Innovation team provided attendees a chance to go through a hands-on demo of DigiPig, a digital piggy bank that helps families teach financial literacy. The company’s employee volunteers also hosted the Cream City Labs’ Makerspace booth, providing an opportunity to learn some basic 3D modeling and 3D printing skills. 
MSOE STEM Center Grand Opening
Many members of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition community celebrated the official grand opening of the We Energies STEM Center at MSOE - thanks to great partners who helped make the premier STEM destination possible! The Center will provide K-12 students access to resources, mentoring and hands-on, experience-based learning for years to come. Speakers included: - Dr. John Walz, MSOE president - Liz Taylor, MSOE director of STEM - Azul Hernandez, St. Augustine Prep student and STEM Center patron - Kevin Fletcher, We Energies president and CEO - Patricia Contreras, Rockwell Automation VP of global public affairs - Sheldon Cuffie, American Family Insurance chief information security officer - Stig Haagensen, Northwestern Mutual technology chief operations officer and MSOE alum Learn more about the WE Energies STEM Center and the support of these partners here: MSOE STEM Center Grand Opening
Employ Milwaukee Celebrates IT Pre-Apprenticeship Program Graduates

On October 7th, 2021 Employ Milwaukee held its virtual graduation for their latest cohort to complete the State of Wisconsin IT Pre-Apprenticeship program. Twelve participants completed the 16-week, virtual, instructor-led IT Pre-Apprenticeship program earning an IT Service Center Certificate and Digital Badge from MATC. Included in the bootcamp were professional development workshops presented by Kohl’s Corporate team members and Employ Milwaukee staff. All graduates were presented a $100 Kohl’s gift card courtesy of Kohl’s to help dress them for career success! Employers interested in meeting/interviewing these graduates should contact Carrie Diener at
Resources & Opportunities
NCWIT-WI Affiliate Aspirations in Computing (AiC) Award Application Period Now Open
Crisp fall air and schools are back session! Please join NCWIT-WI Affiliate and continue to encourage the development of a new generation of technical talent! We want to keep the focus on registration dates for the 2021-2022 Aspirations in Computing Award, now open and available through November 5, 2021. Help spread the word and feel the excitement as we continue to work with these promising high school and college women as they explore the possibility of a bright future in the field of computing. High School educators are also encouraged to apply! For more information or learn more about our mission, see our website at
Rex Academy Podcast Puts Spotlight on Computer Science Education
Rex Academy’s podcast series, “Let’s Talk Computer Science” was launched last year over the holiday season. Since the launch, we have released 38 episodes, speaking with leaders in the field of computer science. We speak to those who play critical roles in bringing technology education to K-12 schools. We release both video and audio interviews on various platforms and focus on allowing our guest to tell their story and explain just how much computer science education means to them. See the latest episode with the Coalition’s chief talent development officer HERE and the full podcast series HERE. If you are an advocate for computer science education for all, subscribe today so you don’t miss any new episodes. 
A 5-minute read White Paper on "Why CMMC?" And what those working directly or indirectly with the (DoD) Department of Defense and government agencies need to know for compliance now and in the future.
Are you ready to take the next step and return to your career, or do you know anyone else who is? MARS Returnship helps technology professionals reignite their careers through project work, professional development, and placement assistance. Our next cycle will focus on full stack development and project management, and we encourage those with previous technology experience to apply at 
What is the best way to keep growing your skillsets and advancing in your tech career? Will the investment of time and money in a master’s degree pay off in the long run? Find out if a master’s in computer science is right for you. 
Tech United’s Annual Drive for United Way underway
Are you passionate about tech, equity and championing future leaders? Join United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County’s Technology United, a membership network of 300+ technologists who make a difference in our community through:
  • Rewarding volunteer initiatives that support students interested in pursuing technology careers and impactful technology projects for local non-profits through Tech for Good Marketplace
  • Industry specific events like the annual CIO Forum,
  • Supporting Techquity, our signature initiative, which aims to bridge the digital divide in our region
 Contact Brea Stevenson to join or learn more about Technology United. Alone we can do it a lot. United, we can change the world.
Greater Milwaukee STEM Ecosystem (GM-STEM) Design Studio
Session led by TIES | Presented by Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition & Northwestern Mutual | Powered by Connect Business Consulting 
Thursday, January 20th | 9 a.m. – Noon | Virtual 
Join TIES for a virtual design studio for the Greater Milwaukee STEM Ecosystem (GM-STEM). Registration is OPEN HERE. Help workgroup leaders set community informed goals and develop prioritized action plans that both raise awareness of and capitalize on existing resources and organizations to provide unity. This includes the development of discrete success statements based on design principles, swot based on data, proposed structure for GM-STEM ecosystem based on design principles, and the identification of ecosystem champions that commit to establish a preliminary operating budget, identify potential funding sources, and execute on the plan. A summary whitepaper will be distributed to all participants.  
Leaders from four engineering research campuses and Wisconsin’s largest intellectual property organization will discuss how the state could compete for a possible new round of federal dollars during an Oct. 19 luncheon meeting of the Tech Council Innovation Network in Wauwatosa. Panelists include Andrew Graettinger, associate dean for research at the UW-Milwaukee; Erik Iverson, chief executive officer for Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; Sheku Kamara, dean of applied research at the Milwaukee School of Engineering; Ian Robertson, dean of the UW-Madison College of Engineering; and Carmel Ruffolo, associate vice president for corporate engagement at Marquette University. 
Northwestern Mutual is in the midst of a digital transformation. Learn how this 164-year-old company began its digital transformation journey and the role their Enterprise Architecture team is playing to get there. You’ll hear from Vice President and Chief Architect Frederic Jambukeswaran along with a panel of other Northwestern Mutual leaders who will share insights and perspective on how their architectural disciplines are playing an instrumental role in this transformation. Register or this free HITEC Live! Webinar on November 12, 1-2:30 p.m. CST. 
The Tech Showcase is nvisia's annual event that has become a staple within the tech community. Join us for this LIVE event on December 9, 2021 at the Brookfield Conference to hear from local technology leaders as they review their major challenges and initiatives from 2021, and share insights on the upcoming year. Check out our website for more information! Speaking opportunities and sponsorships still available! 
Join us for the game changer in preparing diverse talent, StarBash 2021. This premier networking experience will include e-sports celebrity guest speakers & a unique speed networking activity that will bring together Milwaukee’s tech community and the next generation of diverse tech talent. You won’t want to miss it! Network with CIOs, technology experts, i.c.stars interns and alumni while supporting i.c.stars |* Milwaukee’s life changing technology training program for under-served adults. 
Join a panel of Milwaukee leaders from Dematic, Generac, Northwestern Mutual, Molson Coors, and MKE Tech Hub Coalition in discussing the growth of Milwaukee as a Tech Hub.
Wisconsin Technology Association, 10/21 Event: Upskilling and Retaining Talent in the Increasingly Competitive Market
A great panel discussing this topic including leaders from Talimer, More Talent, WCTC, University of Wisconsin and MKE Tech Hub Coalition discussing building our tech talent in the Milwaukee region.
The 2020 civil unrest was heavy on our hearts and affected how many showed up at work. Sheila Jackson, lead program manager, will share how Northwestern Mutual’s African American Employee Resource Group pivoted to address employee concerns and the transformation of our entire organization. 
Register here for this free BDPA Fireside Chat.
Tech Ecosystem
Resources & Opportunities
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