MKE Selected for Expansion of National AI Education Leadership Network

Milwaukee, October 2022: The National AI Education Leadership Network, convened by The AI Education Project (dba aiEDU), has selected the Milwaukee region as a target for expansion. The Network aims to catalyze the democratization of AI Education by engaging students at an early age in experiences that help them see the power and impact of technology on the world around them.

“The Milwaukee region provides both the level of diversity and demonstrated commitment to advancing the democratization of AI education that we were looking for when deciding where to expand. The MKE Tech Coalition has already proven to be an amazing partner in our work.” said Alex Kortran, CEO, aiEDU

Artificial intelligence isn’t just hype or a fad — it’s being deployed in every sector of the economy and throughout society. 90% of executives report that AI is becoming a “mainstream technology” at their company (PwC, 2021). “According to a 2021 Emsi report, 26% of AI and Machine Learning skills are currently coming from entry level talent. But there are only so many undergraduate degrees that have a focus on these skills which necessitates a new way of thinking. Democratizing data and artificial intelligence education is critical. There is a great deal of work happening in other parts of the country and we felt it was important to advance that work in WI,” said Laura Schmidt, chief talent development officer at MKE Tech Hub Coalition.

The Coalition recently published a research brief regarding the state of computer science education in the MKE region which included a commitment to the advancement of AI education in southeastern Wisconsin. They have been involved in AI4K12 (an NSF funded initiative to develop guidelines for AI education in the U.S.) and a recent project spearheaded by CSforALL to publish a whitepaper on the advancement of data science and AI education in the U.S. “Educators have indicated that K-12 standards in AI education were not specifically addressed in the CS standards adopted my many state departments of education nor are college students exposed to how AI is shaping both industry and society. We are finding Data and AI Education has broader appeal that Computer Science in general but leads many students to explore tech and tech adjacent careers that they might not have otherwise.” said Schmidt. The Coalition has also developed a summer bootcamp experience for college students focused on the Ethics and Impact of Data and AI, and partnered with the AI Academy at NCSU to provide access to a DOL funded upskilling program for employees at their member companies.

The MKE Tech Hub Coalition is represented on the steering committee for the National AI Leadership Network, has nominated local education and non-profit organizations to participate, and secured Kortran to deliver the luncheon keynote at the sySTEMnow Conference held on October 26th in Milwaukee. The MKE Tech Coalition also convened a group of key stakeholders within the education community to meet with Alex in advance of the conference to learn more about his work at the national level and provide their ideas on how to support the movement across southeast Wisconsin and the State in general.

“Moving forward, aiEDU is committed to working in partnership with the MKE Tech Hub Coalition to advance the democratization of AI education throughout the region via thought leadership, invitations to national convenings/events, professional development opportunities and resources for educators, and funding sources as needed to advance shared objectives.” said Kortran.

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About the MKE Tech Hub Coalition
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition is a non-profit organization working to inclusively double tech talent in the Milwaukee region. We serve as a unifying voice for Milwaukee’s tech community, working with others to grow a vibrant, inclusive ecosystem where tech and innovation create enduring regional prosperity and life-changing jobs. Formed in late 2019, over 125 member organizations collaborate to attract individuals and businesses to the region, grow a diverse talent pipeline, scale the innovation ecosystem, and unite community. Underlying all initiatives is an intentional focus on increasing the diversity of our tech talent. To learn more and signup for our newsletter, visit

About the AI Education Project
The AI Education Project ( is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that creates equitable learning experiences that excite and empower students with AI literacy. We believe that everyone—especially those who are likely to be disproportionately impacted by AI systems—should have access to the conceptual knowledge and skills they need to thrive as workers, creators, consumers, and citizens. To learn more, visit: