MKE Tech News
Issue 32 - (original send date June 11th, 2021)
DEI in tech shows that “doing well while doing good” is possible. Organizations with more diverse tech talent routinely report better financial results. Thanks to Milwaukee Business Journal for their “In Search of Diversity” series which covered this critical topic.
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition mission is to “inclusively double tech talent”. We are as committed to increasing diversity as we are to increasing capacity. For this reason, we have a very purposeful programmatic goal of at least 50% of participants from demographics traditionally underrepresented in tech. 
Our June member meeting also focused on the DEI topic including data driven insights which showed opportunities for improvement and how we might retain, recruit, and develop tech talent. Thank you to American Family, Verizon, and Northwestern Mutual who shared their insights on the criticality of measurement of goals, investment, and intentionality of action to driving DEI success. For those members who may have missed the session, we’ll be sending a follow up link with the chart and recording. 
Thanks for all of your commitment to improving the diversity of our tech workforce in the Milwaukee region!

-Kathy Henrich
Coalition Updates
Membership Updates:
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition continues to grow with the addition of three new Bronze members: Associated Bank, Capgemini, and the Medical College of Wisconsin. In addition, three additional higher education partners, MATC, MSOE, and University of Wisconsin of Milwaukee, join Marquette and Carroll University in collaborating around joint goals of increasing tech talent in the region. Thank you to new Community Member, Dickmeyer Boyce Financial Management for supporting our mission!
Team News:
Spring is a time of new beginnings and our intern staff are perfect examples of opportunities for new growth:

Kelsey Robinson graduated from MIAD with a degree in design and is continuing his career with Zero Agency. Kelsey impressed us during last year’s virtual internship and we are so thankful for his creation of our design elements. See his senior project on diversity in creative fields here

Ben Kizaric also started with us during last year’s virtual internship which served as the basis for the new MKE Tech Pulse which Ben finished over the last year. This summer, he is an intern at Northwestern Mutual, and we hope he returns in the fall for more work on our technology infrastructure.

Renee Becker Blau supported MKE Hour of Code 2020, the development of a Computer Science Toolkit for local school districts, and the launch of Tech Apprenticeships in MKE. She relocated from IN to MKE during her internship and recently graduated with a Masters in non-profit management. She plans to continue her work with FIRST Robotics and is expecting her first child in September!

Finally, please welcome to our new marketing interns, Chuck Kolawole and Gwen Viegut. Chuck and Gwen are both students at Marquette University and we’re excited to have them onboard!
Bold Vision
Showcasing Milwaukee as a Tech Hub
MKE Tech Hub Coalition CEO Kathy Henrich talked with Concurrency CTO Nathan Lasnoski about growing tech in Milwaukee and the value of a purposeful focus in driving diversity and inclusion in a recent Change Agent CTO Podcast
In addition, Kathy was episode 434 of a national podcast, 20 Minute Leaders, with Michael Mathias. The episode was published on Facebook and Spotify. Listen to hear about why MKE is already a tech hub and how we are continuing to progress the ecosystem.
#MKETech keeps growing (Read How).
After being rated the fastest growing tech market last quarter, Milwaukee is again seeing growth of over 20% in tech job postings in May.
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.
Pre-internship program kicked off this week.

✔️ 30+ colleges and high schools represented
✔️ Nearly 60% of participants are students of color
✔️ Nearly 60% of participants are female students
✔️ We have nearly 30 engaged mentors representing 15+ companies

We are also excited to announce that the Higher Education Regional Alliance (HERA) will be providing students who complete the program with a “Foundations in Data and Artificial Intelligence” badge which may be considered for credit at participating institutions.

Coalition members, please save the date for the showcase event on August 11th where students will demonstrate their understanding of how data is sourced, structured and ethically trained to solve challenges across many of our key industries. A member invite will be sent out in July. 

Educator In-Service: Thursday July 8th
Check out the full agenda and invite those in education to register to attend:

Save the Date: Tech Career Expo on September 14th (Learn More)
This virtual event is being held in conjunction with Summerfest Tech and is designed for early tech talent and adult learners looking to re/upskill into tech roles. The Coalition’s member companies are planning keynote presentations, high demand career pathway discussions, professional development activities, and corporate content to support the event. All participants will leave with a better understanding of tech and tech adjacent roles as well as how to best prepare for them. Booth sponsorships are available by sending an email to
  • K12 Computer Science teachers are invited to participate in Deep Learning Workshop – 7/15/2021 at no charge ($500 value):  MSOE and Nvidia is partnering with the Coalition to offer CS K12 educators free participation in the Nvidia workshop: Fundamentals of Deep Learning (computer vision, transfer learning, and natural language processing). This workshop will be held on 7/15/2021 from 9AM – 4PM in person at MSOE’s Diercks Hall or fully online. Lunch and parking covered. Register by sending an email from .edu address to CS program director Dr. Riley via
  • GM-STEM Ecosystem NewsJan Morrison joined the GM-STEM community on 5/18/21 to reflect on the results of the recent landscape analysis. A recording of that event can be found at the bottom of the GM-STEM page. If you are interested in taking a leadership role in this initiative going forward, please contact Liz Taylor who is coordinating the efforts of the GM-STEM launch team.
  • “Early Talent” Community of Practice Formed. Please contact Marie E. Olmsted at if you are interested in more information.
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.
Can’t find mid-career talent? Consider sponsoring a Registered Tech Apprentice. 

The Coalition secured a state grant to support employers who sponsor a tech apprentice to train for a role as a software analyst or software developer. This workforce strategy can help diversify your workforce and leverage more seasoned talent than might otherwise be available. The average age of a tech apprentice is 33 years old. Please contact if you are interested in more info. The next cohort starts in September and pledges are due as soon as possible to help with planning. For more info on Tech Apprenticeships, go here.
Leveraging cross-industry partnerships to accelerate start up growth and innovation
Meet the first round of FOR-M Grant Awardees:
Last month, the MKE Tech Hub Coalition awarded 6 Milwaukee startup founders with $10,000 to grow their businesses and further support graduates of the FOR-M program. The process was guided by a community led panel of investors and serial entrepreneurs. The winners represent a variety of different products, industries and models and we're excited to see their progress this year.
These winners will be joined by additional grant awardees as we enter our second round of grant funding. Applications for FOR-M graduates will begin on June 15th. If you are a FOR-M founder, you can reach out to Aaron Davis ( for more details. If you know someone who would benefit from the FOR-M program, you can direct them to learn more here
Join us for a community workshop on early team growth on June 21st (RSVP Here)
Every month, the FOR-M Program has been hosting an educational series for founders to learn crucial skills from local experts. This month, join a panel about how to establish a strong company culture, and navigate the hiring and satisfaction of your first team members. This is a free and open workshop, we’d love for you to join us.
Attraction & Retention
Attracting and growing tech jobs in the region
The Milwaukee area lands in the top 5 metros for overall affordability. Cost of living is almost 40-50% less when compared to cities like San Francisco, Miami and Austin.

Coalition Members in Action
The gift will create the Fund for Diversity in Tech Education at UWM, which will support the university’s efforts to recruit, retain and graduate undergraduate students from marginalized and underserved communities, preparing them with the skills to pursue careers in computer science, data science and information technology.

Milwaukee Business Journal is taking applications for their CIO of the Year awards, as part of our C-Suite Stars, until June 18. Submit nominations here.
Marquette’s PUMP-CS program offers professional development for teachers this summer
K-12 teachers from any discipline, experience, and grade level are encouraged to check out the opportunities to learn to teach computer science this summer. MPS teachers can participate free of charge due to the generosity of an NSF grant.  Fees for those districts not covered by the grant can be found on the program web page. Click HERE if you would like to nominate a teacher for a professional development scholarship to attend for free.
Milwaukee Film Partnership Sparks Community Action
Northwestern Mutual used the power of film to help advance conversations about racism, discrimination and prejudice by highlighting racial and gender biases built into facial recognition software and other artificial intelligence. A partnership with Milwaukee Film, Northwestern Mutual’s hi, Tech outreach program and the Northwestern Mutual Data Science Institute provided free streaming of the award-winning documentary, Coded Bias, for high school and college students, as well as educators and faculty, during Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March. The screenings launched a series of discussions and activities over the two months aimed at fostering change. Read more.
This series does a great job of collecting diverse voices with recommendations for increasing diversity in tech. MKE Tech Hub Coalition Board members Rashi Khosla from MARS Solutions Group, Eric Senn from Johnson Controls, Molly Mulroy from WEC all provided insights along with members Tarik Moody from 88Nine, Shane Arnold from GE Healthcare, Paul Gafney from Kohls, Christy Garcia-Thomas from Advocate Aurora Healthcare, Craig Schedler from Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, and Que and Khalif El-Amin from Yes and so many other FOR-M partners and participants. Thanks to everyone who engaged.
Dev10 June Cohorts Graduate
June was a busy month for the Dev10 Program, hosting not one but TWO graduations! The first was another class of full-stack Java developers followed by a class of full-stack .NET/C# developers. Graduates have joined local organizations and are excited to embark on their IT careers. July brings the inaugural graduation from our Data Professional program as well as more Java developers. The region continues to deliver fantastic talent for reskilling! For more information contact
Resources & Opportunities
Unlock your potential. Apply to the next cycle of i.c.stars |* MILWAUKEE! (Learn More)

Learn to code. Launch a career in IT or business. i.c.stars is a nonprofit technology & leadership training program. Earn a small stipend while learning the Business, Leadership & Technology skills needed to obtain a career! FREE 16-week training, access to alumni and sponsor network & more. This is a needs-based program for people with partial or no college degree and a limited income. Applicants must be 18 years or older & have HS diploma or GED.
How to Retain Employees Post-Pandemic (Read More)

Surveying your employees will help you better understand their engagement level, how inclusive your company is, if your current recognition strategy is effective, and more. Ovation offers a free company-wide survey to quickly and easily get a pulse on employees’ perception of management and culture. Learn more on our website.
Project Innovate: From innovative ideas to operating businesses - Part 2 (RSVP)
Join us on June 23 from 8 - 9 a.m. CT as the founders of Coinigy, Frontdesk and LeaseCrunch discuss their journey from innovative idea to an operating business and the lessons learned along the way.
Maker Faire Milwaukee 2021 Announces MKE Tech Hub Zone and Startup Resources.

Gearbox Labs is honored to be able to organize this year’s event (September 24-26, at MSOE) and is excited to see all of the applications come in! We are partnering with the MKE Tech Hub Coalition to organize a special zone that will house all things tech. Maker Faire Milwaukee is looking for a sponsor of that zone at this time. Please reach out to for more information. In addition, this year’s event will feature some pretty exciting startup resources. 

For example, Kickstart Design. Fresh off the successful development of mutesync Kickstart Design is dedicated to using the latest rapid prototyping technology to validate ideas, fine tune marketability, pitch investors and establish manufacturing and marketing strategies. Make sure to meet Kickstart Design at Maker Faire Milwaukee.
New Resources Consulting Contributes to Business Community through Educate and Connect Initiatives
A recent virtual event, Bridging the Gap Between Business and IT, presented by Jody McDonough, Sub-Zero, is now accessible. Recording here.
Milwaukee Tool is co-hosting an upcoming in-person event on their ONE-KEY Technology Register to attend here.
Growing the STEM Leaders of Tomorrow: STEM Forward Awards 6 STEM Scholarships to Deserving Students
Each year, STEM Forward awards six $2,500 scholarships totaling $15,000 to outstanding students from the Milwaukee area who are enrolled in STEM-related programs in order to encourage talented students to maintain high standards of academic achievement and service. We believe that in order to add to Southeastern Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, we must provide as many possibilities to students as possible —big or small. Learn more about each recipient, read their bio, and view their video. To get involved and support the Scholarship Program, attend our 16th Annual Scholarship Program Fundraiser Golf Outing on August 12, 2021, at Morningstar Golfers’ Club and become a sponsor for this fundraiser. Learn more here.
SHARP Literacy will kick-off its Summer Learning Program at Kosciuszko Park
On Thursday, June 24, SHARP Literacy will kick-off its Summer Learning Program at Kosciuszko Park. In partnership with American Family Insurance, Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club and Brewers Community Foundation, SHARP’s summer program supports academic success by helping urban students catch up on previous learning loss and make strides toward exceeding academic expectations the following year. This summer, the STEAM-based educational programs will reach over 800 elementary students at 27 community sites in Milwaukee and Waukesha. At the kick-off, students will learn about the importance of reading throughout the summer, participate in a variety of playground games and activities, enjoy ice cream treats, and meeting the Brewers Famous Racing Sausages TM.
NCWIT WI Affiliate Has a New Website! Plus, On-Demand Video Link to our 2021 AiC Awards Event
We had an uplifting “virtual” afternoon last month honoring an impressive field of technically minded young women at the high-school and collegiate levels along with their inspiring educators. Fantastic keynote speakers and a lively panel of past winners made this an outstanding celebration of their accomplishments. See what all the excitement is about on our new NCWIT -WI Affiliate website complete with an on-demand link to the event! Feel the excitement! This is our future, and it is bright!
June is "Tech Month" for the Wisconsin Veterans Chamber of Commerce. Thank you to those who purposefully attract, develop, and support Milwaukee's veteran population as they pursue tech (and tech adjacent) roles. Check out the recent broadcast featuring the MKE Tech Hub Coalition, Apprenti and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to discuss the unique benefits of veteran employment in tech. Employers searching for mid-career talent .... this is a must watch for you!
Tech Ecosystem
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