i.c.stars |* Milwaukee’s impact on regional talent development

Submitted by Sarah A. Dollhausen-Clark, Executive Director, i.c.stars |* Milwaukee …

i.c.stars has activated a technology community of change agents to power social and economic freedom.  After 20 years in Chicago, i.c.stars expanded as part of our national enterprise model and opened its doors in the Milwaukee market in March 2018. Over the last two years our commitment to providing access and opportunity to diverse candidate pipelines and developing talent for the tech industry is making an impact in the region.  Specifically, we have been able to:

  • Develop curriculum that is responsive to the region’s tech talent needs
  • Graduate 72 interns, 80% of which have been placed in tech related positions
  • Demonstrate our program directly contributed to a 300%+ increase in graduate salaries.  Salaries range from $45-60k.
  • Develop a staffing model that makes it flexible and easy to work with employers to respond to talent needs.

Our candidates come from diverse, low-income backgrounds, 45% of which are women, 2% Veterans, and 96% identify as BIPOC. We have a rigorous application process that helps us to identify candidates who can be successful in the program and who show resilience, which is an instrumental trait in problem solving in tech. We teach various coding and tech stack platforms, in addition to the business and leadership skills that develop not only the tech side, but the whole professional as well. Building social capital and developing business acumen is also a major benefit to interns who graduate from our program.

Our invested partners such as Northwestern Mutual, MolsonCoors, Kohl’s and American Family Insurance, to name a few, have provided financial and training support to develop future technologists. In addition to supporting the training program through tax deductible sponsorships, we work with companies in the region to move the needle when it comes to changing hiring practices for those seeking diverse and nontraditional candidates to fulfill talent needs.

i.c.stars is a proud community member and preferred reskilling provider of the Milwaukee Tech Hub, as we have been involved from the inception, and are aligned with the coalition’s commitment to diversity, growing tech talent in the region, and partnering with coalition members to provide opportunities to engage with IT leaders and develop tech talent.

i.c.stars |* Milwaukee provides multiple ways to not only find the next tech superstar, but we also provide employee engagement/volunteer opportunities through various activities during a cohort. Contact us to discuss sponsorship, hiring, and volunteer opportunities. We are currently recruiting intern candidates for our 7th cycle in February 2021, along with program sponsors who can engage with talent over the 4 month cohort to find diverse talent to fit your needs.