MKE Tech News
Issue 29 - March 12th, 2021
Yesterday, we held our first member meeting to review Milwaukee region data on the tech workforce in order to continue to inform our next actions. With the blending of multiple data sources (emsi, HERA, CompTIA, etc), there were three primary takeaways from the discussion:

  1. Competition for tech talent has remained strong throughout the pandemic
  2. The Milwaukee region may not be fully leveraging our opportunity to leverage early talent sources from our universities, 2 year programs, etc.
  3. Embracing non-traditional talent sources (apprenticeships, returnships, 2 year programs, etc.) will be required to increase the diversity of our tech talent to align with our region’s demographics.
  • Note: Replay and documents will be sent next week to members who could not attend.
It is for this reason that we are focused on improving the accessibility and affordability of these alternate routes to tech careers. We’re fortunate to have been selected by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) for a $385K WI Fast Forward grant which results in employer incentives for hiring registered apprentices. Due to the overhead of administrating the grant, we’ll allocate funds first to member employers who make a pledge on or before 6/30/2021 to hire one or more apprentices within the next 12 months. Funds will then be available to non-members until funds are depleted. If you are an employer interested in learning more, please reach out to
Finally, March is Women’s History Month. The Milwaukee region has more women in tech than other areas of the country, but at 25% of the workforce, we’re not fully represented. I’m very thankful to all of the member non-profit organizations (Maydm, WI Affiliate of NCWIT, Women in Technology, Women’s Entrepreneurship Week) and employers who are working tirelessly to advance women in tech.
Coalition Updates
Member Updates
This month, we are very excited to announce three new Bronze members: Infosys, The Milwaukee Bucks, and Verizon. This brings us to 70 members and the 20 Bronze members required to add another representative to the Board. Current Bronze members should consider their interest in serving on the Board and we’ll be soliciting nominations in late March.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Verizon have already gotten to work on an area of joint interest: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. They will be forming a member committee to advance our collective action in this space. If you are interested Bronze+ members can reach out to to express an interest in joining this committee
Finally, Infosys brings to us a great, no-cost opportunity around upskilling and reskilling.  
Reskill and Restart is a digital learning platform that brings together employees, trainers and employers in a guided journey that begins with aptitude and skills assessment, followed by curated job-specific skills training, and culminates in matching people with roles that land them in careers in tech., non-tech. and support functions. It enables employers who are scaling up to review the available talent pool for the right match and hire them while they undergo rapid and job-specific reskilling on this integrated, multi-stakeholder platform. We encourage you to check it out!
Bold Vision
Showcasing Milwaukee as a Tech Hub
👋 MKE Tech is on Clubhouse
Initiated by two local podcasters, Ryan Thompson and Chris Luecke, we have started weekly conversations each Tuesday at 4:30 regarding startups.  If you’re on Clubhouse, join the mketech club! It is an open club which can be leveraged by the community to talk about the great things happening in the region.
Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition takes deliberate approach to inclusiveness (Read Here)
Flyover Future spoke with Kathy Henrich, MKE Tech's CEO, to discuss how the Coalition is taking a deliberate approach to inclusiveness.
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.
K-20 Committee Webpage Updated with 2021 Roadmap
The Coalition would like to recognize all of the amazing organizations who have helped shape the K-20 Committee’s 2021 Roadmap. This helped to confirm our body of work for this year in alignment with our objectives and values. If you are a member of the K-20 committee, the 2020-21 CSforALL SCRIPT Cohort, the K-12 Computing Alliance, and/or one of the higher education partners who have committed to work with us on shared objectives, please know how much your perspectives are VALUED and makes a difference in our work. We are excited for what 2021 will bring with your ongoing collaboration and support. #bettertogether. Click here to check out the revised committee web page.
Opportunity for sponsorship: Summer Talent Accelerator
The MKE Tech Talent Accelerator was inspired by programs at the National level and customized to meet the needs of our members and the greater MKE region as a whole. Advanced registration for the pre-internship program began on March 1st through referral partners who primarily serve college students who are traditionally underrepresented in tech and will be expanded as we get closer to spring. The website will be expanded to support the educator workshop being planned for July as well as the regional tech career expo in August as well. THANK YOU to the planning team as well as all of our program partners for your willingness to be involved.
If your organization is interested in more information on how to expand your organization’s visibility to emerging tech talent, sponsorships are available starting at $5K. Please reach out to for information.
Video Available to Educators to Support
Academic and Career Planning
The MKE Tech Coalition is committed to helping students understand how important their voice is to the future of technological solutions in MKE and how to prepare for tech (or tech adjacent) careers. We are asked by many for videos to help educators and career counselors advise students on the many opportunities available. Many thanks to Merri Beckfield (MARS Solutions Group), Dan Gallegos (West Bend Mutual Insurance), and Christian Gill (Concurrency) for their work on our newest video: Building Your Tech Career in MKE. Additional videos will be added to a new ‘student focused’ youtube channel soon!
CSforAll- For Wisconsin!
Last August, the MKE Tech Coalition sponsored the first CSforALL SCRIPT workshop in Wisconsin to support districts who have prioritized the development of an inclusive environment for computing and related disciplines. Similar efforts are happening in NE WI. We are excited to announce that WI DPI is advancing a statewide Computer Science (CS) education strategy that will include CSforALL SCRIPT. Regional educational service agencies (like our very own CESA1) will have the opportunity to train staff who can then deliver CSforALL SCRIPT workshops and supports to district teams throughout their service area. The development of a plan during the CSforALL SCRIPT workshop makes it much easier to engage . Note: Governor Evers also included $750K in his proposed budget for CS teacher training. While there are many steps to go before the budget is finalized, it is a promising step for CS education in partners who are committed to helping districts through the MKE K-12 Computing Alliance. Note: Governor Evers also included $750K in his proposed budget for CS teacher training. While there are many steps to go before the budget is finalized, it is a promising step for CS education in Wisconsin.
State Superintendent Race – Opportunities to Learn About YOUR Candidates before 4/6 General Election

  • Candidate Forum presented by Wisconsin Policy Forum – March 19th 12:30-1:30 p.m. Click here to register for this virtual event.
  • Computer Science Education in WI: This webcast series is presented by WisPolitics and WisBusiness in partnership with the MKE Tech Hub Coalition. Click here to view the webcasts of the two remaining candidates for the general election and Click here to see a summary of the position of all of the candidates leading up to the primary.
Save the Date:
Those that completed our preliminary landscape analysis will be receiving an invite to an event on 5/18 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. to share out what we learned from all of you. The full results of the analysis along with outcomes from the share out session will be made available to the public in late Q2.

Note: GM-STEM is not a new organization. There are many organizations and volunteers that have been and will continue to play a role in influencing the opportunities that our emerging talent pipeline will have to inform their post-secondary education and training opportunities. But we are now connected to a global learning community to help us build capacity for the work we do. Click here to find out how our region is being represented. #BetterTogether #GM-STEM
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.
Re/Upskilling Committee Webpage Updated with 2021 Roadmap
The Coalition would like to recognize all of the amazing organizations who have helped shape the
Re/Upskilling Committee’s 2021 Roadmap. This helped to confirm our body of work for this year in alignment with our objectives and values. If you are a member of the Re/Upskilling committee, the Preferred Reskilling Provider Network and/or one of the higher education partners who have committed to work with us on shared objectives, please know how much your perspectives are VALUED and makes a difference in our work. We are excited for what 2021 will bring with your ongoing collaboration and support. #bettertogether. Click here to check out the revised committee web page.
MKE Tech Coalition Awarded $385K in Incentive Funding for Employers of Registered Tech Apprentices. 
 This funding will help subsidize the relation instruction for software analyst and software developer apprentices. Member organizations who make a pledge prior to 6/30/21 to hire an apprentice in 2021 or 2022 will receive priority in funding. Please email if you are interested in more information.
We are pleased to help employers who are interested in diversifying their tech workforce via registered tech apprenticeships as part of their overall workforce strategy. We are thankful to Kohl's for being the first to make a commitment to hire registered apprentices via our program partner, Apprenti. The first cohort began their training on 3/1/21. The Coalition is also interested in hearing from employers interested in expanding into other areas (i.e. Cyber, Cloud, Data, IT Service Desk, etc.). Click here for more information.
The Coalition is a sponsor of the iHeart Media ReSkill MKE Campaign.
Thank you to Coalition members and/or those in our Preferred Reskilling Provider Network that have submitted content to inspire those visiting the site. One such example is the recent blog developed in partnership with Skills Pipeline, CodeWorks, TekSystems, and MARS Solutions Group. 

Leveraging cross-industry partnerships to accelerate start up growth and innovation
FOR-M Mentor Networking (Register Here)
Join us Monday, March 15 from 4:30-6:00pm for a fun and casual networking session for local mentoring professionals and learn more about mentoring at FOR-M! To sign up to be a mentor in the Spring FOR-M cycle, sign up at here
FOR-M Monthly Community Workshop:
Startup Basics: Product MGMT
How does a non-technical founder manage a technical product? Local product development firm, Rokkincat, leads our March workshop to talk Product Management. This is a FREE workshop happening Monday, March 29 from 4:30-6:00pm CST. Register:
Attention FOR-M Founders!
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition received a grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) which will allow us to provide small grants to founders who went through the FOR-M program in 2020-1H2021. Look for the announcement of the application for 2020 founders soon!
Reverse Pitch: Watch for Winners next week
On February 24, founders pitched their solutions to Northwestern Mutual and Froedtert/Medical College of Wisconsin’s Reverse Pitch Challenges. Winners will be announced next week. If your organization has an interest in participating in Reverse Pitch in Fall 2021, reach out to for more information!
Reverse Pitch, High School Edition Pitch Event April 8
In 2021, the Reverse Pitch challenges were also extended to a high school program sponsored by Northwestern Mutual, Froedtert/Medical College of Wisconsin, The Milwaukee Bucks, and the MKE Tech Hub Coalition.  Young Enterprising Society (YES) and volunteers have been coaching the students who will be presenting their solutions to the challenges on April 8 at 6 pm Support the students by registering to attend Demo Day . Registration:
FOR-M company request for help: Internship on Demand
Internship on Demand is helping college students land their first professional experience through project based learning. After 2 cohorts, they are seeking 20-30 min phone interviews with HR professionals and/or early talent managers to discuss “What makes your internship program valuable and how can we reflect that in our programming?” This will help them build their B2B platform. To volunteer, email or visit website,
Tech Jobs
Attracting and Growing Tech Jobs in the Region
Technology-dependent Industries included as an Industry Cluster in regional plan
MKE Tech Hub Coalition worked with The Milwaukee 7 and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) to list technology – dependent industries as an industry cluster in the draft 2021-2025 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for Southeastern Wisconsin. The CEDS is a strategic plan that will diversify and strengthen the Region's economy which must be every five to qualify for funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. 
On Tuesday, March 16 at 1 pm, a virtual stakeholder meeting where we will discuss the draft CEDS, focusing on the goals and strategies identified for the CEDS. Attendees will be given the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback on the goals and strategies. If you are interested in attending, please CLICK HERE to register.
Coalition Members in Action
88Nine Diverse Disrupter Podcast 
Black entrepreneurs receive less than one percent of all venture capital funding. Yet, the importance of entrepreneurial success in closing the racial wealth gap and in innovating for a more inclusive future is paramount. 88Nine Radio Milwaukee seeks to share personal stories of “Diverse Disruptors” from all over the country, their varied paths to success and the way investment in Black entrepreneurs has expanded into opportunities for people and communities of color.    
Season one of the new podcast, hosted by Tarik Moody, will highlight seven Black innovators in various fields from tech to education to eSports to venture capital — including nationally-recognized firm, Backstage Capital. For more details visit or listen on Spotify
NCWIT-WI Affiliate: Recognizes 2021 AiC Educator Award Recipients

NCWIT-WI Affiliate is thrilled to announce that we have selected three educators who have both supported and motivated young women to consider a path in the field of technology within our local community. We recognize and honor these educators for their commitment and encouraging these students to aim higher and create their own path to success. Congratulations to our Winner, Mark Taylor, Milwaukee Excellence Charter School and Honorable Mentions, Jim Ferwerda, Mukwanago High School and Samantha Kable, New London High School. Thank you for all you do to inspire! 
Calling all Aspiring Womxn in Tech: 
The Wisconsin Affiliate of NCWIT & WIT Wisconsin are planning a virtual event on April 13th from 4:30 to 6:00pm to present a fun and exciting opportunity to connect high school and college age young womxn with IT professionals working in a variety of fields. Participants will have the opportunity to hear from multiple professionals as they share more about their background, what a day at their job looks like, and more!  
Whether you know where you want to go or are still exploring your career options, his event is a great opportunity to learn about all the places you can go with a technology degree! This event is completely free to attend. Registration will be opening soon at Please share with your networks. 
Tech March Madness from WisconsinInno 

Learn about 32 regional tech companies and create your own “winners bracket”. Enjoy! Learn more here.

Community board member, Matt Cordio, talks through the role that our elected officials and our tech community can take to grow our tech ecosystem.
MARS Solutions Group Launches Ovation to Boost Employee Rewards and Recognition 
Employee recognition increases employee engagement, encourages high performance, retains top talent, and augments company culture. 40% of employed Americans say they would put more energy into their work if they were recognized more often. Despite this, only 51% of workers are satisfied with the recognition they receive after a job well done. If organizations doubled the number of employees who receive recognition for their work on a weekly basis, they would experience a 24% improvement in quality and a 27% reduction in absenteeism. That’s where our new rewards and recognition application, Ovation, comes in. Learn more.
TechHire & Kohl’s Team Up 
Employ Milwaukee’s IT Service Center Technician training bootcamp received professional development support from Kohl’s Cares volunteers by assisting with virtual mock interviews. The bootcamp consisting of 18 individuals benefited greatly from the interviewing experience and appreciated the time and feedback from the Kohl’s Cares volunteers. Virtual interviewing takes practice to master, so Kohl’s volunteers provided a great opportunity for these students to get the practice needed to succeed. Employ Milwaukee’s TechHire program provides individuals an opportunity to advance along an IT career pathway, for example, a former TechHire participant recently started an IT Software Developer Apprenticeship at Kohl’s Corporate. 
Resources & Opportunities
Live Your Best Life. Do Your Best Work. 

Check out the newly-launched Northwestern Mutual Careers site highlighting Tech at NM. Find out about job openings and what it’s like to work for a company offering start-up vibes alongside Fortune 500 stability. With opportunities ranging from Engineering to DevOps to Data & Analytics, we invite you grow your career alongside curious, ambitious, innovative talent.
Young Enterprising Society Partners with NABA Milwaukee to Host Youth Summer Programming

MKE Tech Hub Coalition member, YES, and National Association of Black Accountants, in sponsorship by Northwestern Mutual, will host Tech+: an eight-week summer program that will train 25 students around java technology, accounting, and entrepreneurship. Programming will also include off-site field trips. Applications are due 4/11/2021, click here or visit
Volunteer for MARS Returnship

The MARS Returnship program is an on-ramp for women looking to restart their careers in technology following a gap in employment. We provide on-the-job training, mentorship, and a partnership approach to prepare our cohorts to successfully rejoin the workforce. MARS Returnship is made possible by local industry leaders who enrich the program by giving their most valuable resource: time. Volunteer opportunities include mock interviews, professional development sessions, 1:1 mentoring, and Friday Fireside Chats. To sign up, please visit

If your organization is looking to diversify its talent pipeline - particularly for entry-level tech roles - look no further. i.c.stars' immersive training program has operated in Milwaukee for 3 years and one of its talented, resilient grads could be your next great hire! Contact Leia Ferrari for resumes from candidates of interest.
Do you want to advance or start a career in data? Come to the Northwestern Mutual Data Open House on March 17. See how you fit! 

Our Core Data & Analytics team at Northwestern Mutual is growing! We are at the heart of the performance and transformation of the company, delivering foundational enterprise data systems and capabilities, driving the data science and analytics transformation, and maturing enterprise data governance. We want to share with you the exciting things we are doing and invite you to join the team. Learn more and join our active Talent Community.
Women, Wine + Tech 2.0, Sponsored by 88Nine, Northwestern Mutual

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Visionary League is looking forward to hosting our annual women in tech focused event on March 25th, 2021. WWT 2.0 will be a virtual/live stream event and has a special opportunity for a wine gift set with your ticket. Get your tickets here.
CONTRAPT WI - TURN ON A LIGHT! A Virtual STEM Competition for Middle School Students 

On Friday, May 7, 2021, STEM Forward will host Contrapt Wisconsin Competition for middle school students. This virtual competition’s challenge is to Turn on a Light in 8 or more steps. A contraption accomplishes a simple task in the most complicated, fun way possible. Building one can be challenging, but it allows students to work on skills involving engineering, simple machines, trial and error, project planning, physics, teamwork, and creativity. Register a team today!

The 8th annual virtual Wisconsin Tech Summit on March 17th will feature important speakers who will talk on a range of relevant issues to entrepreneurs, investors and the startup ecosystem. Registration open to all, join us!

Microsoft recently introduced Viva, its employee experience platform designed to bring employee communication, knowledge, learning and insights into an integrated experience. Join Concurrency on Thursday, March 25th from 11:00-11:30AM CDT to learn how the platform can help support your organization’s efforts to support employee productivity, collaboration and engagement.
Tech Ecosystem
Madison and Milwaukee Attracting Workers During the Pandemic 

McKinsey published a report which confirmed that talent is on the move during the pandemic – moving to where they can have a great quality of life and a fantastic career. This chart is from p56 of the full report. 
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has announced his 2021-2023 budget will include funding for supporting early-stage and small businesses in Wisconsin. Part of that budget plan is allocating $100 million for a fund of funds venture capital program that will invest in other venture funds that back startups with high-growth potential. More details here
Resources & Opportunities

This collaboration between Marquette University's Opus College of Engineering, College of Business Administration and Milwaukee-based Rexnord provides an opportunity to upskill early career engineers with business fundamentals through an immersive, six-day non-credit program that uses an integrated curriculum to expose participants to teamwork; communication; conflict and negotiation; accounting and financial statements; marketing; voice of the customer; and supply chain management.

The program will be delivered virtually over two, three-day in May/June and in person in August. Organizations sending two participants can send a third participant for free. For more information, please visit the program website. 
Opportunities for startup founders traditionally underrepresented in tech! 

NPR will select 10 inspiring entrepreneurs to participate in the How I Built This Fellowship program, including the opportunity to pitch Guy Raz and a panel of powerhouse judges. One winning Fellow will go home with a $50,000 grant to build their business. Apply here by March 31. 
How to Turn Your Region into a Technology Destination 

LabMidwest invited Kathy Henrich to speak about the work of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition. However, Lab Midwest CEO, Matthew Kirchner really made the show with his passionate endorsement of the quality of life and strength of tech careers in Milwaukee. Thanks to all of our MKE Tech evangelists! Listen to the replay here.
WERCBench Labs Accelerator Demo Day

Join us April 20th for year six of the WERCBench Labs Accelerator Demo Day, this event will highlight six startup companies, in the Energy, Power and Controls Industry. Hear the teams pitch their businesses and join us for extended networking sessions. We encourage, investors, community members, students, business professionals, entrepreneurs, and others to join. Register here.

Join Code for Milwaukee's next highly interactive Hack Night on March 18th, from 6-9pm with Featured Speaker Joe Alioto from MKE Tech Map, a map of the players in and around Milwaukee's entrepreneurship ecosystem. Come ready to contribute and add new orgs! 
MKE Tech Hub Coalition |