Higher Education Partnership Formed with MKE Tech Coalition

by Laura Schmidt, chief talent development officer, MKE Tech Coalition

The MKE Tech Coalition’s K-20 Committee is focused on STEM outreach and early talent strategies that will support the Coalition’s mission to inclusively double the tech talent in the greater Milwaukee region.  This committee was formed in April of 2020 and has since launched the K-12 Computing Alliance, partnered on the delivery of a virtual tech internship for college students, sponsored a regional CSforALL SCRIPT workshop (now planned to go statewide), and presented the third annual greater MKE Hour of Code.  Member organizations have also supported volunteer requests for speakers, thought leadership, advisory board members and more.

As we move into 2021, the committee wants to build on this foundation and build a stronger and more purposeful relationship with our higher education partners who are such an important part of our ability to make progress on our mission.  The Coalition is now hosting a quarterly convening for a select number of higher education institutions who have have unique assets in the region and have demonstrated a sincere interest in working alongside the Coalition on shared objectives.   Specifically:

These institutions have made a commitment to apply thought leadership and staff time to advance agreed upon initiatives.  For example:

  • Develop a shared view of workforce data and vocabulary related to tech roles in the greater MKE region (CompTIA, EMSI, Burning Glass, Manpower, HERA, etc.)
  • Co-create supports that address workforce gaps and/or barriers for students transitioning to higher ed and subsequently to the workforce in high demand tech disciplines
  • Partner on events/programs/initiatives that build awareness of, and capacity for, higher education assets that support shared regional attraction and retention goals.

This group will start by breaking down the tech workforce data shared at the Q1 all-member meeting of the Coalition to further explore key insights impacting the tech talent pipeline we can collectively take action on.  Additional higher education partners will be invited to participate once we have adequately scoped out our work for the remainder of 2021.

We are also working together to deliver the MKE Tech Talent Accelerator during the summer of 2021.  This early talent program builds on our work last summer with The Commons Summer Tech Internship to deliver a set of connected learning experiences for students, educators and employers.  More to come!