MKE Tech News
Issue 34 - August 13, 2021
Hiring of Tech Talent across the US is hot, including Milwaukee. Headlines like “Employers bow to tech workers in hottest job market since the dot-com era” due to “the strongest hiring outlook since 2000” (Manpower) - Milwaukee also is building on the momentum of the fastest growing tech market in 1Q.
This is also driving up the cost of talent and making it more important than ever to have a full workforce strategy including entry talent and up/re-skilled mid-career talent, in addition to attraction/retention. Also, an organization’s and region’s brand as a place where tech careers thrive is more important than ever.
This means we need to continue showcasing Milwaukee as a great place for tech talent to build and grow their careers. We’re seeing momentum in this as Milwaukee is getting noticed for being a growing tech hub.  This new profile highlights the strength of our entire tech ecosystem, from community and educational organizations to start-ups and accelerators.   
Ecosystems thrive when they are organic. In the book “The Startup Community Way”, one of the key points is that you’ll know you have a healthy ecosystem when it starts to self-organize. That is exactly why we were excited to see the inaugural Founders Fest created for founder, by founders. This is also true of our robust meetup calendar led by tech professionals and other events that bring the tech community together to advance shared goals. 
We announced this month that we’d be celebrating the growth of the entire tech and startup ecosystem through Tech Week from Oct 25-31. Anyone in the ecosystem is encouraged to submit a session proposal through  We also encourage you to share your enthusiasm for Greater Milwaukee’s tech ecosystem with our high school, collegiate and recently reskilled talent during Tech Career Expo on 9/14.    
Together, we are expanding the opportunity in the tech and startup ecosystem.  In the short run, this creates opportunities for talent, and creates a future with enduring economic prosperity. 
Coalition Updates
Membership Updates:
Welcome to our New Members this month: Pyramid ConsultingStack 41The Water Council, and the Wisconsin Startup Coalition. With this growth, we are now at 60 community members which allows our community members to elect another community voice to the Board. The primary contacts for our community members will receive a note shortly asking for nominations! 
Team News:
Welcome new Board Member, Wendy Schafer, from Aurora Advocate Health. Wendy replaces Dipa Mehta and serves as a Coalition Platinum representative. Thank you to Dipa for her time and contributions helping us advance our mission.
Bold Vision
Showcasing Milwaukee as a Tech Hub
ICYMI: Milwaukee is listed as a tech hub on Powderkeg, a connections engine for tech professionals between the coasts.  Our tech scene is showcased with lots of information like co-working space, tech community groups and local accelerators. Check it out, share it with your networks and go create a company profile.
The Coalition was named a finalist in two TECNA Innovations Awards categoriesInnovation in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion & Talent Pipeline and Workforce Development.   The Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) represents approximately 60 IT and Technology trade organizations and we're excited to be named a finalist twice in these national awards.   

Startup Week has been expanded to be Tech Week with an expanded audience of all tech professions including startups, developers, etc. Anchor events being planned include Meet the Meetups, Reverse Pitch, and others!  Submit your session proposal which showcase the best of tech and startups in Milwaukee by August 31. Proposals will be reviewed by a panel and notified of inclusion by Sept. 7.  A full calendar of events will be available in September.   
Summerfest Tech is again shaping up to be an extraordinary event on September 8. Register here! Kathy Henrich will be hosting a panel, sponsored by Software One, to discuss how alternate workforce strategies can increase both the capacity of tech talent and the diversity.  She will be joined by the Ashley Gaare, President of Software One,  Nick Curry, Head of Military Initiatives, Technical Apprenticeships, and Diversity Internships at AWS and Kelly Roufus, Digital Category Manager, Johnson Controls. 
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.
The events below are all part of the MKE Tech Talent Accelerator, a connected suite of experiences for students, educators and employers that advance early tech talent.   
The goal of the MKE Tech Talent Accelerator is to help students with diverse backgrounds understand their potential and connect them to resources that can help them contribute to the #mketech ecosystem along the way. 
Last call to Register as a Booth Host for Tech Career Expo on September 14.   
The MKE Tech Career Expo is presented by the MKE Tech Coalition, sponsored by Northwestern Mutual and powered by Booth Central. It will be held virtually on 9/14 from 12-6. Those would like to have a presence at the event are invited to get additional info and register a booth via the event page

We could also use the help of our ecosystem to purposefully invite those that would benefit from attending this event – college students and/or adult learners with an interest and aptitude to engage in tech and/or tech adjacent careers. Simply direct them to the event page for additional information and to register to attend. 
Summer Student Showcase (Ethics and Impact of Data and AI) Held on August 11th 
What happens when over 100,000 people lose power in Southeastern Wisconsin but you’re hosting a huge virtual event? YOU PIVOT! The students involved in the program showed up and adapted. Another testament to their professional skills. 

Rather than a live event, we recorded what we had planned to share with our registered guests. Now the entire #mketech community can get a peek into what they learned this summer.  

Not only did the students learn a lot, they also earned the first ever Higher Education Regional Alliance - Wisconsin (HERA) Foundations in Data and Artificial Intelligence badge that recognizes the program as a credible educational course designed to prepare students for the future of work in a digital economy. Check out their work and consider where they might fit into your early talent recruitment goals!  
Greater MKE Hour of Tech – Advanced Registration is OPEN 
The 2021 Greater MKE Hour of Tech is happening on December 6-12 across SE Wisconsin. Advanced registration is now open.  Join the movement of educating youth by letting us know your intent to participate in this year’s event. 

This regional week-long experience supports and expands the national Hour of Code movement during Computer Science Week and will feature a variety of activities that showcase the possibilities of tech - from coding, design and user experience to 3D modeling, cybersecurity, data science, artificial intelligence education...and more! 
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.
Collaboration Powers Preferred Reskilling Provider Network 
Workforce data demonstrates the challenges faced by our employers to fill open positions.  Solving for this requires a multi-layered approach.  Sourcing talent with an interest and aptitude for tech, re/upskilling them to demonstrate what they can do, and securing placements at regional employers is growing in popularity.  Check out the Coalition’s Reskilling Opportunities page to learn more about a few of our preferred providers.  Thank you to those member employers who are actively engaged in leveraging these emerging talent strategies. Your experience helps us identify gaps that we can work with our partner organizations to address.   
HELP US IDENTIFY GREAT POTENTIAL!  NEW Openings for Registered Software Development/Analyst Apprentices in Milwaukee! 
The MKE market is looking for mid-career professionals that are interested in re/upskilling into software development roles. Opportunities are sponsored by MKE Tech Hub Coalition employers and approved by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development as a Registered Apprenticeship. This is a TRAIN to RETAIN model. The selection process is powered by Apprenti (strategic partner of Technology Councils of North America (TECNA)). Referral agencies are encouraged to identify candidates with the interest and aptitude for success in tech roles. All candidates are encouraged to register/prepare for required assessments via Paid full time training starts in October with apprentices transitioning to employers in January.  Please share with others who may have an interest!  Participating employers will be disclosed prior to interviews.
Leveraging cross-industry partnerships to accelerate start up growth and innovation
MKE Tech in collaboration with the WEDC has awarded 6 new companies with $10,000 grants to advance their product development and grow their teams. They join 6 other companies awarded funds in May of this year. Congratulations to all the winners and a huge thank you to Dan Renouard from Baird, Dana Guthrie from Gateway Capital Partners, Matt Friedel from Milwaukee Venture Partners and Nyra Jordan from American Family for serving on our grant committee. 
If you are an early stage founder or have a friend/ colleague who is exploring a new idea, encourage them to apply for FOR-M. They will gain valuable insight and resources from across Milwaukee’s startup ecosystem and join a network 150+ strong of fellow founders. More information can be found at  
Coalition Members in Action
Nominate a young, promising techies in Greater Milwaukee’s Startup scene 
To highlight some of our youngest entrepreneurs and technologists, Wisconsin Inno compiles a list each year of promising and accomplished techies in the city’s startup scene. Nominate here by August 15
Experience the wonder of extraordinary image quality. Register now: Technology developed by GE Healthcare Magnetic Resonance Imaging global teams, headquartered in Waukesha, Wisconsin. #ImagingWithAIR #GEHealthcare 
Lena was the winner of Reverse Pitch MKE for Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network. Nina Capital, a specialized venture capital (VC) firm focused on health technology, announced a seed stage investment in Lena. Lena has developed a way to digitize health assistants for senior care navigation by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) in order to make personalized care navigation scalable. 
Want to learn how to get into tech with no experience? Tech intern Jasmine Mendez shares her journey going from an undecided high school student to a tech intern at Northwestern Mutual who loves her work.
Northwestern Mutual came up with a challenge, giving young people the chance to code a light show on the iconic Hoan bridge. Teams of interns from eight local companies created light shows that reflected their companies and then participated in four nights of bracket-style competition and public voting. Six interns with Direct Supply won Milwaukee's first Intern Challenge hosted by Light the Hoan.
Northwestern Mutual's Tech Minicamp for Milwaukee high school students is helping build a tech-ready talent pipeline for the future. The company’s commitment to growing a STEM-ready pipeline starts early. Rather than waiting to begin investing in internships at the college level, the financial services organization starts with its K-12 STEM outreach program, hi, Tech, which includes a signature summer Tech Minicamp & Internship for local high school students that features a 4-week tech bootcamp followed by a tech internship role. 
Despite advancements in cancer care, patient outcomes and quality of life, cardiovascular complications continue to be the leading cause of death among cancer patients, outside of cancer re-occurrence. The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) was recently awarded funding from the American Heart Association to study why Black and African American women are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular complications after breast cancer. The team will study the effect of cancer treatment on blood vessels and measure whether engaging in moderate physical activity and strength training can minimize or prevent vascular damage. 
Physicians treating hard-to-heal wounds have long been saddled with inadequate tools. Now, two UWM researchers have invented a smartphone system that includes an app so that patients can photograph their wounds regularly. Photos and the data the app provides allow an AI program to help doctors get better treatment results.
Congratulations to Dana Guthrie on the closure of your first fund. It was great to see coalition members, Northwestern Mutual, Johnson Financial Group, and West Bend Mutual investing in “underestimated Milwaukee startups”
Resources & Opportunities
As the school year is approaching, we’re preparing for the future. Future City is a project-based learning program where middle school students imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future. Wisconsin does not charge a registration fee, so take a few minutes and sign up! Middle School educators can engage their students at a variety of levels, depending on what works best for them. The program runs through the fall semester and culminates with a Wisconsin Regional Competition on Saturday, January 15. This year’s theme challenge, A Waste-Free Future, asks teams to use the three principles of a circular economy to design a futuristic, waste-free city. Not sure what exactly that means? Check out the one-pager for the explanation. Learn more
Summerfest Tech Pitch Competition is back and Young Enterprising Society is presenting. The pitch competition will be held on September 8, 2021 from 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. CST on Summerfest grounds. Six startups have been selected by a panel of judges to pitch for a share of $25,000. The six finalists are Vaia, ZapLife, SoleSafe, Liiv, Debtle and Investii. 
Panelists are Steve Ackerman, vice chancellor for research and graduate education and a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the UW-Madison; and Eric Wilcots, dean of the College of Letters and Science and Mary C. Jacoby professor of Astronomy at the UW-Madison. “Business celebs Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos have both blasted into space, the space economy is expected to soar in coming years, and the public believes one of the best ways to monitor the Earth’s climate and security is from above,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “We’re looking forward to hearing from two UW-Madison experts on what priorities make sense and how Wisconsin is helping.” 
How can you search for nontraditional talent for your company? How do you attract unique, talented team members? MARS Solutions Group is hosting an event on Sept. 16 from 1-2:30 p.m. with panelists to discuss how to find your own “purple squirrels” – those rare team members that check all your boxes and more. Our panel is featuring Kathy Henrich from the MKE Tech Hub Coalition, Andres Gonzales from Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin, and Lynne Briggs from Versiti.
MARS Returnship is celebrating our 1-year anniversary on September 1st! If you are interested in learning more about the program - join us for an evening of mingling, appetizers, and cocktails. This event is open to both those interested in another source of nontraditional talent, and candidates who would like to apply to the program. Please RSVP by filling out the linked form.
Assist the latest cohort of interns from i.c.stars in building strong, tailored resumes to prepare them for future employment in Milwaukee's tech sector. HR + TA managers welcome, along with any & all technical employees.
New Resources Consulting will host the next installment of its Executive Briefing Series on September 16th, 2021 at the Milwaukee Tool office. 
Join Ryan Garlock, Milwaukee Tool’s Software Development Manager, as he discusses their journey in the development of the organization’s ONE-KEY™ Technology, a collaborative tool and equipment platform, and the role it has played in the digital transformation of the company. A demonstration of the product, lessons learned in its development, and best practices to incorporate new technologies into an organization will be shared. To register, go to or for more information, contact
GM-STEM Design Studio to be held on August 23rd. If you would like to take a leadership role in this regional initiative, please contact   

NCWIT-WI AiC Application Window Opens in September. Please encourage aspiring female technologists and inspiring educators to apply. 

Maker Faire Milwaukee to be held September 24th-26th at MSOE. 

sySTEMnow Conference to be held October 27th. 
Tech Ecosystem
Resources & Opportunities
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