MKE Tech News
Issue 28 - February 11th, 2021
February is Black History month. This year, more than any before, should challenge us both organizationally and personally to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Personally, I’ve chosen to enter United Ways’ 21 week equity challenge to continue my learning journey.  
Organizationally, the MKE Tech Hub Coalition has set a target of 50% representation from traditionally underrepresented demographics in any of our programs. Achieving these targets requires purposeful actions in structuring of the programs and sourcing the talent. One recent example is the announcement of the Apprenticeship program as a non-traditional route into tech and we’re thankful for Kohls’ commitment to hire.  
We’re also proud of the actions of our members and community partners in advancing these goals. Several examples exist in this newsletter including access to Coded Bias movie through Northwestern Mutual, BDPA’s event tonight, and the Habla Code program sponsored by American family.  
Expanding our tech workforce in an inclusive way will not happen overnight, but our collective steadfast commitment. purposeful actions, and ongoing measurement will drive the transformation which fuels individual and regional prosperity. 
Coalition Updates
Member Updates
Welcome to our new members this month: Lanex, WI IOT Council and Wisconsin Tech Council. We are looking forward to our collaboration to drive regional success!

With 44 community members, we were able to add another Board member from the Community membership in January. We are pleased to announce that Matt Cordio, Founder of Skills Pipeline and co-founder of Start Up Milwaukee Week and the new state-wide Startup Coalition.  We are thrilled to have his expertise on the startup community represented on our Board!

In 2021, the Coalition will start to hold quarterly discussions around critical topics in tech. These topics will continue to inform the Coalition’s work and provide opportunities for member collaboration beyond Coalition led initiatives. Hold the date for our first member-only meeting on March 11th at 10 AM focused on Tech Workforce Data and Impacts based on data commissioned by the Coalition in 4Q on top regional skill gaps and upskill pathways. An email will be sent directly to our member contacts for registration.
Bold Vision
Showcasing Milwaukee as a Tech Hub
Tech workers are choosing Milwaukee as their home. (Here’s why)  
People are starting to take notice of Milwaukee’s growing tech ecosystem. Young professionals are drawn to the energy that’s been building in Milwaukee, and the tech scene continues to grow stronger each year. Thanks to a downtown building boom, a thriving food and art scene, affordability and down-to-earth sensibility, Milwaukee is a place where local creatives and technologists of all kinds can thrive. Find out why tech workers are choosing to live and work in Milwaukee.
Wisconsin well-positioned to build on “work-from-home” trends (Full Story Here)
In a recent survey, 95% of tech workers said they intended to continue to work remote after the pandemic. Now is the time to welcome tech workers back to the state – those with “alumni” connections whether that is they lived here, worked here, or graduated from here. To be successful in attracting them back to the state, we need to show them that we are already a tech hub (which we are!) including local tech career and developmental opportunities, even as remote workers.
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition sponsored Milwaukee Business Journal's Tech Awards as we are excited to help amplify the stories created through these awards. We encourage you to tell the stories of tech innovation, talent, and careers. Nominations are due 2/19.
On Wed, February 17, Kathy Henrich will sit down with Matt Kirchner to discuss the Milwaukee region as a tech hub with over 80K tech workers and almost 2000 tech businesses.
MKE TECH & Our personal, non-traditional routes to tech (Video Here)
Thanks to one of our newer members, Naviant, for focusing on the work of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition in a recent podcast. It was a pleasure to sit down with Ema Roloff to discuss our personal stories of how we got into our tech careers through non-traditional routes.
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.
2021 Roadmap with Metrics
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
Opportunity for sponsorship: 
Summer Talent Accelerator
We are working towards offering a college-level program which will focus on the Ethics and Impact of Data and Artificial Intelligence where all students will complete a professional and skills-based program that is customized for them. The program will feature strong industry connections to support academic and career planning, raise awareness of tech/tech-adjacent careers, and increase access to local internship programs. We are working to secure sponsorships to expand the number of students who can be served by this program and to ensure all eligible students can be provided a scholarship to attend. We hope to open registration by 3/1/21. If your organization is interested in more information on how to get involved, please contact for information.
Last chance to view state superintendent candidates articulate their position on CS education in Wisconsin BEFORE YOU VOTE in 2/16 primary.
Seven candidates for state superintendent joined and for a focused conversation about computer science education in Wisconsin. This webcast series is presented in partnership with the MKE Tech Hub Coalition. Get to know all of the candidates and their platforms prior to the primary on February 16th! Click here to view all of the webcasts and Click here to see a summary of their positions.
We are all the GM-STEM Ecosystem. We ultimately will influence the opportunities that our emerging talent pipeline will have to inform their post-secondary education and training opportunities.

  1. Check out how our region is being represented globally here
  2. Thank you to everyone that completed the GM-STEM Landscape Analysis to date. The survey will remain open until end of day 2/15/21 so you still have a little bit more time to have your voice heard to influence STEM in the region. Those who completed the landscape analysis will receive access to the report findings in Q2, 2021. 
  3. The GM-STEM team was included in a series of town hall meetings with other STEM Ecosystems from across the county. The results were compiled into a policy brief for the Biden-Harris transition team. We are excited to report that GM-STEM was specially highlighted in the section on systemic solutions to help families and their children improve their lives (p11) and in the appendix (p27). The full report can be downloaded HERE.
MKE Tech Coalition members Featured in BizTimes STUFF Magazine (Check it Out Here!)
This annual publication was developed to help young people better understand their options to be involved in the products that are made and/or built in SE WI. This year, the team added an emphasis on the design process as well as the technology skills needed to take an idea from inception to market.

The Coalition is featured on p.36. Thank you those from i.c.stars (p.12), MATC (p.12), MSOE (p.13), GE Healthcare, MARS, Concurrency, Rockwell and Northwestern Mutual (p. 32-35) and so many more for supplying content for this edition.

NOTE: Sponsored content allows the publication to be distributed free of charge to schools in SE WI to support academic and career planning as well as to those organizations that serve adult learners.
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.
2021 Roadmap with Metrics
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
Kohl’s to Launch New Registered Apprenticeship Program with ‘Seattle-based’ Apprenti
We are thankful for those employer champions who are charting a path for new talent sources in Tech. Apprenti is the first Department of Labor intermediary that has been approved by Wisconsin Apprenticeship to operate in the State of Wisconsin. This resulted in Kohl’s partnering with Apprenti to support the company’s overall pipeline for technology talent in Milwaukee.  Read the full announcement here:
Many realize that what worked in the past will not be sufficient to meet employer needs into the future. We need to tap into new talent sources. The Coalition’s Preferred Reskilling Provider Network was selected based on the criteria set by the Re/Upskilling committee in Q3 of 2020. Each brings different strengths to the region. Many are also members of the Coalition. 

They have agreed to convene on a quarterly basis to collaborate on ways to address identified barriers for helping those that want to move into tech jobs find the right program to help them do so. Employers who are interested in more information and/or who might be interested in helping us identify gaps in our offerings are encouraged to reach out to
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. If you haven’t had the opportunity to read their stories, they are all available via the new ‘MKE Tech Hub Coalition’ tag on the site. Check it out!

iHeart Media will be refreshing the content on a regular basis. Let know if you would still like to contribute content for the campaign. 
Leveraging cross-industry partnerships to accelerate start up growth and innovation
FOR-M is back and starts March 8!
Do you have a business idea that's been in your head for some time but unsure what next step to take? FOR-M is an early-stage incubator that gives you the tools and support you need to turn your idea into a reality. You bring your idea and your drive. We’ll help with the rest.

Applications are now being accepted on a rolling basis until 2/26 or until all spots are filled. Visit to learn more + apply. FOR-M is an initiative of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition and powered by The Commons and We Pivot.
The Legal Basics for Startups. Monday, February 15 from 4:30-6:00PM
Each month, FOR-M will be offering virtual workshops for the Milwaukee area tech community. Topics will change, but these will always be free and open to anyone. February’s topic is “Legal Basics for Startups”, presented by Coalition member Godfrey & Kahn. Register now.
Calling High Schoolers: Reverse Pitch is now for You too!
Students now have their own competition to create innovative solutions to the Reverse Pitch Challenges from Northwestern Mutual and Froedtert/Inception. Winning teams will get prize money or internships. Thanks to the Milwaukee Bucks, every participating team will get some great swag. Thanks to Coalition member, Yes, for your leadership in driving this program!  Learn more at Register to participate by Feb 14! 
Tech Jobs
Attracting and Growing Tech Jobs in the Region
Dev10 announces intent to double tech workforce in Milwaukee region to 300
In a recent interview with Wisconsin Inno, Harley Lippmann, CEO of Dev10 and MKE Tech Hub Coalition member, spoke to the success of their reskilling program and stated their intention of growing the Milwaukee-based staff from their current 150 employees to 300.  More details our here.
Coalition Members in Action
2021 AiC Wisconsin Honorees 

Nominations submitted, applications reviewed by our community leaders, and NCWIT WI Affiliate is thrilled to announce we now have 127 WI honorees this year! We would also like you to join us in congratulating Tania Mishra, a junior at Brookfield Central, and a 2021 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) National Winner! We are thrilled to also congratulate, Olivia Eckes (Whitefish Bay, WI), Ellie Ertl (Cedarburg, WI), Rucheng Pan (Brookfield, WI) and Grace Vanden Heuvel (Hortonville, WI) all of whom are 2021 NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) National Honorable-Mentions. A great year for all! 
Laura Deaner Appointed as Chief Information Security Officer at Northwestern Mutual 

Northwestern Mutual appointed Laura Deaner as Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). She is the first woman to hold this leadership position at Northwestern Mutual where she will lead the Enterprise Information Risk & Cybersecurity team and be responsible for spearheading the company's information security strategy. Deaner has more than 21 years of experience working in cybersecurity for multi-national Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, Laura served as the CISO at S&P Global. Prior to that, she held numerous leadership roles at Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and PR Newswire. Read more.

Two Wisconsin cities, Milwaukee and Madison, are performing well in the race for tech talent in the nation’s COVID-19 era. Milwaukee and Madison are both regularly ranked as top destinations for workers, especially techies. Madison, Milwaukee and other emerging tech hubs in Wisconsin have a chance to capitalize on dislocations brought on by the pandemic as well as disgruntlement with conditions in traditional tech centers, whether those be environmental, regulatory or related to business costs.
Exciting New Regional Engineering Machine Design Contest for High School Students 

STEM Forward is excited to offer a new and different machine contest for high school students, the Engineering Machine Design Contest (EMDC), and host the virtual regional competition on April 16, 2021. Winners of the regional competition will advance to the Engineering Machine Design Championship in late spring. For educators and parents, volunteers help us give students the ability to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) principles while having fun in a collaborative environment. Learn more at EMDC webpage.
Resources & Opportunities
New Horizons of Wisconsin, in partnership with MKETech, is pleased to announce an exclusive benefit for members of the Coalition. Members of MKE Tech Coalition receive 10% off all certified training from the local company, including technologies such as Microsoft AppsMicrosoft TechVMwareAWSprogramming and much more! 
New Horizons delivers over 900 unique classes in dozens of technologies, and in 2020, trained thousands of professionals in these important skills. Their process of working with each individual, personally aligning their upskilling with their professional goals and skill gaps, ensures the most efficient use of your time and resources. Visit 
NM Data Science Institute: UWM College for Kids & Teens Data Science Certificate 

As part of a newly developed partnership with the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute, UWM College for Kids & Teens is now offering a certificate in data science. This specialized learning track consists of a total of five courses related to the study of data science – introducing students to the exciting and dynamic world of data! 
To earn the certificate, students must complete all three core classes offered every summer and two elective courses from a selection of 14 offerings. All core courses are for grades 9-12 and can be completed within a three-year window. Elective courses may be offered starting at grades 6. Registration Opens January 26. For more information and to register, visit the website.
MBJ Tech Awards: Opportunity to Leverage for Recognition, Recruiting, Etc.

Celebrate tech leaders, businesses and projects with the inaugural “MBJ Tech Awards”, presented by MKE Tech Hub Coalition. Publishes in print and online April 9. This is an opportunity highlight transformational projects, recruit talent, or thank team members, partners, etc. through advertising and native content. Contact David Boehm for more information. 
Northwestern Mutual Brings Coded Bias to Milwaukee 

Northwestern Mutual’s hi, Tech team and the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute are partnering with MKE Film to offer showings of Coded Bias throughout Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March. Premiering at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, this award-winning American documentary follows researchers and advocates - principally Joy Buolamwini, a Black female MIT computer scientist - as they explore how algorithms encode and propagate racial and gender bias. Check out the trailer HERE. High school teachers can sign their classes up HERE for free access and curriculum, and the film will be available for college students and adults to stream for reduced rates HERE starting February 1st. 
American Family Insurance Sponsors HablaCode – a Front End Development Curriculum Written Completely in Spanish 

American Family Insurance partnered with Connect Business Consulting and the Milky Way Tech Hub to produce a front-end development curriculum written entirely in Spanish. Created by Carlos Vasquez, an i.c. stars Milwaukee graduate, it will be released on 2/22/21. For access and/or to subscribe to the HablaCode newsletter to receive technology manuals, programming tips and free resources to help you learn front-end development in Spanish, check out
My Green Shirt: Challenges of Diversity Through the Eyes of a 21-Year-Old Latinx Talimer Intern.

As employers engage with an increasingly diverse workforce, Alejandra Montes de Oca, an intern on the Talimer team, shares her personal story of growing up as a Latinx woman in the Milwaukee community and provides employers with some key considerations. Read her story.
Need great talent NOW? Talk with a Dev10 Associate.  

The Milwaukee cohort of Dev10 completes its training on Feb 26. Our Associates eat, sleep, breathe code during the 11-week immersive training program on full-stack Java. Additional technologies include Docker, React and Node.js. Dev10 is addressing the tech talent shortage in Milwaukee by reskilling high-aptitude, passionate U.S. residents in software and data engineering. Dev10 Associates are available to join local companies on March 1st. If you’d like to interview a Dev10 Associate for your team, please contact Jennifer Turnquist at
WI Tech Council Publishes Policy Report, Including Talent Recommendations  

Milwaukee Tech Hub CEO Kathy Henrich was a panelist in a Feb. 10 webinar produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council in which she and others focused on why Wisconsin is attractive to tech talent – and what can be done to make the state and region even more so. Henrich was joined by Bill Hickey of Wolf Track Ventures, which works with companies in western Wisconsin and Minnesota’s Twin Cities; state Rep. Tip McGuire, D-Kenosha, one of four co-chairs of the new Tech Caucus in the Wisconsin Legislature; and Tech Council President Tom Still. The Tech Council’s latest policy report, which includes provisions aimed at talent creation and attraction, can be found here.
BDPA Event on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Virtual World, Feb 11 TODAY at 6 PM! 
Steven Brown, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at MKE Tech Coalition member, Molson Coors Beverage Company will be presenting on DEI in a Virtual World. Register here.
Emerging companies may apply through Friday, Feb. 12, 2021 to meet with major firms as part of the 8th annual Wisconsin Tech Summit 

The day-long event will be held Wednesday, March 17, 2021. The Tech Summit will feature a series of brief meetings, or “speed dates,” to foster communication and partnership around technology needs and innovation. Past emerging companies are welcome to apply. It is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Healthcare Business Forum. 

Participating major firms thus far: 3M, Advocate Aurora Research Institute, American Family Insurance, AT&T, Dedicated Computing, Exact Sciences, Findorff, Froedtert Health, J.P. Morgan, Johnson Controls, Kimberly-Clark, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Northwestern Mutual, PDS, Promega, Rockwell Automation, Schreiber Foods, Titletown Tech, and WIPFLi. 
Signalwire sponsored ClueCon is next week! 
We're only 1 week away! During February 16th and February 17th you can catch a dozen half-hour long speaking sessions from brilliant, experienced developers, as well as free workshops. The speakers and members of the FreeSWITCH/SignalWire team will also be around later to answer any questions, hang out and chat! Register now!
Analytics and Business Intelligence Consortium Event: User Journey Mapping 

“User Journey Mapping” is the first 2021 event presented by the Analytics and Business Intelligence Consortium (ABIC) at the Carroll University School of Business. A virtual event with speaker Tim Dixon of Generac, it is 5:30-7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17. Dickson has served as Generac’s CIO since August 2020. Prior to that, he was vice president of digital business platforms at Laureate Education, a $5 billion global enterprise consisting of 65 international university institutions. For more info, click here.
Bold Journey, Small Steps: Practical Ways to Deliver on Industry 4.0, Feb 18 

WI IOT Council will have our first Meet Up of the year on Feb. 18. Visit this page and register today. The guest speaker is Mark Beckmann, Director, Manufacturing Industry Solutions at Microsoft. He'll cover how Microsoft’s Industry 4.0 journey started with the manufacturing of their Xbox and Surface products.
WIT Upcoming Events 

Women in Technology is off to a busy start in 2021! Please check out our website for our upcoming February events which include: 
  • Adafruit Circuit Board: Train the Trainer, Feb 18 
  • Stand out in a Sea of Blandness presentation, Feb 26 
i.c.stars |* Milwaukee Season of Change Series: Healthcare & Access  

This year, i.c.stars |* Milwaukee will be hosting a “Season of Change” Virtual Event Series. From March to May, there will be an event each month focused on a different business sector all around our 2021 focus: “Change the Future“. The series kicks off on the topic tech + healthcare + access: Tuesday March 16th, 8:00am-9:30am
Tech Ecosystem

Eighteen months after the Wisconn Valley Venture Fund announced its formation, the fund confirmed for federal securities regulators that it raised $100 million.

One Source Direct unveils innovative B2B platform that centralizes and streamlines small business connections.  Forged across six years of research, planning, development and deployment, B2B platform One Source Direct has been unveiled with a distinct aim at both centralizing and streamlining small business connections.
Resources & Opportunities
Microsoft Provides Support Through Targeted Programming 

Many of you are familiar with Microsoft’s support of the Connected Systems Institute at UWM and the TEALS program in MKE to build capacity for computer science education in our region. But did you know that Microsoft also has national programs that are available to minority owned and/or minority serving organizations? Please check out the following and let and know if you are interested in getting directly connected to the national managers for these programs.
MKE Tech Coalition Presents at NSF Funded National “State of AI Education in Your State” Workshop 

NSF recently funded a “State of AI Education in Your State” workshop by AI4K12. As an AI4K12 advisory board member, Laura was asked to give a presentation as an overview of some of the great work going on in the greater MKE region. All presentations will be made available via Additional webinars will be offered as well. Please follow their progress on twitter at @AI4K12 and check out the press release put out by Carnegie Mellon UniversityFor more information, contact 
Marquette University Launches Cyber Escape Consortium -Offers Scholarships/Cyber Internship  

On January 29, Marquette held a kickoff meeting for the Cyber Escape Consortium to address the needs of workers impacted by the pandemic, companies beset by cybersecurity concerns, and the growing gap in the cybersecurity workforce.

A broad group of community organizations promoting technology, cybersecurity educators who upskill and reskill workers, and companies seeking improved cybersecurity posture were invited to attend. Marquette University agreed to take the first step by offering STEM scholarships for summer cyber programming at Marquette and will create an internship focused on cybersecurity at Marquette.  For more information about the Cyber Escape Consortium, please contact

The MKE Tech Coalition will be contributing to Marquette’s efforts through their support of the Regional Career Pathways Initiative for Digital Technologies led by the M7 Talent Partnership and CESA1 as well as through the expansion of the Registered Tech Apprenticeship program in MKE.
Ethical AI 

Is how we use data ethical? Is the data itself ethical? What steps can we take to ensure that we are being mindful about the data input, the result and how we interpret the result? Join the WTA’s February session on Thursday, February 18th as our guest Sarah Alt, Founder and CEO of the Ethical AI Consortium, shares insights on the questions above and much more! For details and registration, go here.
You’re Perfect, You’re Doomed: How Fear of Change Can Affect Data Security

On February 25th, TierPoint’s CSO, Paul Mazzucco, an expert in human behavior and cybersecurity, will examine the natural human tendency to fear the unknown and the consequences that such fear can have on cybersecurity decisions. Paul will highlight the latest hacker tactics, leveraging psychological vulnerabilities for attacks via phishing, IoT, and AI. Paul is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, and Certified Ethical Hacker working with the FBI, the US Secret Service, Pennsylvania Electronic Crimes Task Force and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team. Register here.
Save the Date: Shaping the Future of Your IT Management Team (3/3/2021, 8:00 AM) 

Learn how to chart a career path in IT management (or help others do so) during a virtual panel discussion hosted by the UW Extended Campus IT Management Advisory Board. Panelists will share their journey into IT management, offer advice for breaking into the role, and share what they look for when crafting professional development plans for their team. The panel will feature:

  • Laura Schmidt, Chief Talent Development Officer, Milwaukee Tech Coalition (moderator) 
  • Erin Allen, Director of IT Strategy and Architecture, Sargento Foods 
  • Robert Cordova, Chief Technology Officer, Milwaukee Bucks 
  • Scott Noles, AVP - Information Security Officer, Citizens Bank

More information – including registration link – will be posted by 2/19/21 on the UW Information Technology Management website. Returns for Spring 2021 with New Platform and Expanded Scope 

This virtual summit brings together Midwest startups with VCs, angel investors, and more, focused on Pre-Seed, Seed, and Series A stages. After a successful pilot in September with over 3,300 connections facilitated, MTC is back manufacturing a little serendipity across the region with a new event platform and new two-way matchmaking process to make it even easier to set up quick, virtual, 1-on-1 meetings. Bonus programming will also be announced soon. The event is free for startups. Interested startups, angel investors and VCs should register before matchmaking opens on 2/22. Scheduled 1-on-1 meetings will take place 3/23-3/25. 
Given the growth of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition, February is the last month where we will accept newsletter entries from non-member, for-profit companies. We would welcome all as community members of the Coalition.
MKE Tech Hub Coalition |