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A Review Of 2017 (NEW IT Alliance)

Wow – It’s hard to believe we are approaching the end of 2017! However, the chill in the air and the holiday decorations tell us it’s time to start thinking about our new year’s resolutions and how to lose those couple of pounds from our office parties.

Sometimes when we get caught up in the daily grind of living and carrying out our jobs, we lose sight of the accomplishments and progress we’ve made. So, I’d like to use this issue of our Tech Upload newsletter to take a look at everything we’ve accomplished this past year, and thank those who helped make it happen.

Looking back to a year ago today, the founding organizations had just hired on a director to help drive the NEW IT Alliance forward. THANK YOU to these forward-thinking companies for working together to create the NEW IT Alliance! December was spent moving into the new office, onboarding, and introducing the director to the member organizations. Before we knew it, the year was coming to a close.

January arrived, and we focused on defining who we wanted to be as an organization, and formalizing our executive committee. With a bit of structure in place, we were then able to define strategy and objectives for the year. We also saw our first change on the team as we said good-bye to Dave Schecklman, CIO of Oshkosh Corp., and welcomed Lynn Eady in his place as the Oshkosh Corp. representative. Lynn has been a great addition to the team and we are thrilled to have him onboard.

In February, we introduced the director to the larger organization and shared our objectives for the year. This first year would focus on laying the foundation for future success. Toward this end, we shared our key initiatives for 2017.

  • Solidify our mission, vision, and key priorities
  • Develop a marketing strategy and communication plan
  • Establish a web presence and job board, including social media
  • Establish a model of funding to be self-sustaining and provide enough income to allow for 50% of the budget to be allocated to operations and 50% to be invested in outreach programs
  • Create a New North benchmarking tool to measure progress on supply of IT Talent

Finally, we changed the model for our large group meetings to include guest speakers who would share best practices and talent initiatives from around the region. Our brave, first guest speakers were Cindi Enli from J. J. Keller & Associates sharing how they position themselves as a Tech Talent Destination, and Heidi Bork from Bemis who shared their Internship and College Launch Program.

In May, we welcomed new members SECURA, Cellcom, Stellar Blue, and Johnsonville. We also unveiled our logo and launched our LinkedIn page. THANK YOU to our Marketing Committee for all their help with this. Joe Smits from Associated Bank, and Mike Warner from Oshkosh Corp. shared their thoughts regarding cyber security implementation and talent at our group meeting. Rounding out the month, we welcomed TEALS to the region, with 10 high schools in Northeast Wisconsin eventually implementing the program. THANK YOU to all our companies who are providing volunteers to help bring computer science into our schools!

Over the summer we launched our website, adding new pages every few weeks, including our job board which connects to our member organization’s job postings. A huge THANK YOU goes out to Stellar Blue for all their help in making this happen. Meanwhile, the Talent Committee started planning for the job and career fair to be held in November, and we welcomed new members Ariens and KI.

As the school year ramped up, so did activities in the region. In September, Northeast Wisconsin welcomed Microsoft’s TechSpark initiative, followed quickly by their TitleTown Tech announcement in October. Then in November we were able to welcome gBeta to the region as well. Amidst all the announcements, the NEW IT Alliance conducted the first ever regional IT job and career fair – NEW Connect IT. We held the event at the FVTC Bordini Center, filling 33 booths and welcoming 174 employer volunteers, 50 college students, 29 community job seekers, 255 high school students, and 18 high school teachers to the event. The three pillars of the event focused on educating individuals about the companies looking for IT talent (Gig Portal), the diversity of jobs within IT (Talent Café), and the technologies leveraged by our companies (Tech Marketplace). Many companies walked away with potential candidates for internships and fulltime positions. THANK YOU to Dr. Susan May and her staff at FVTC for all their help and support as we planned and implemented the event. And THANK YOU to the Talent Committee for the hours of planning and preparing, as well as all the volunteers who helped the day run smoothly! The event was a huge success and we are already looking forward to next year.

Also in November, we held our final large group meeting for the year. We welcomed our new members: NWTC, Plexus, Festival, and Eastern Wisconsin TechHire. In addition, we added a new membership type – Technology Advisory Members, and welcomed Microsoft and Skyline Technologies to this group. Panelists from our local 2 and 4 year colleges shared information about the programs offered at each campus, helping recruiters understand where to turn for their IT talent needs. They also shared some of the challenges they face as enrollments start to increase, but instructional staffing does not.

As we look ahead, we will be defining our strategy and objectives for 2018, building on the foundation we laid in 2017, and increasing our collaboration with TechSpark, TEALS, WIT, Amplify, and other organizations working to advance IT in Northeast Wisconsin. We look forward to an exciting and busy next year!

If you are interested in getting involved with the NEW IT Alliance, contact us at newitalliance@gmail.com.