April 2021 Tech Upload

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NEW Digital News

NEW Digital Alliance Tech Upload | April 2021

Thank You Alliance Members

The NEW Digital Alliance would like to thank Wipfli for their support as a general investor in 2021. To learn more about Wipfli, click Here.

Alliance News:

As we begin to pull out of the Covid pandemic, and life slowly returns to a new normal, competition for tech talent has never been greater. With tech unemployment remaining chronically low, and remote work increasingly becoming the norm, companies are recruiting on the national stage like never before. We are already hearing from companies that are seeing upward pressure on salaries as they work to hire remote workers used to coastal salaries. Conversely, companies will need to look at salaries and benefits for their local roles in order to retain talent being recruited by coastal employers willing to pay a higher rate. Reviewing and updating Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) practices can also help with attraction and retention of employees.

Salary and employment data for IT workers underscore the challenges of hiring. The IT labor market has seen a positive development from 2019 to 2020. Tech salaries are up 3.6% overall and in Wisconsin by 9.6% to an average of $97,322 – higher than our neighbors in Michigan (+7.6%), Minnesota (+4.6%), and Illinois (-0.1%). Many job roles also saw significant gains with data scientist, DevOps engineer, and cyber security analyst all seeing double-digit increases. Unemployment remains low with the latest data from February showing an unchanged tech unemployment rate of 2.4% – down from it’s pre-pandemic level of 3% in January 2020.

Such a strong job market makes it increasingly important for companies to pay attention to having inclusive hiring and retention practices. Data shows there are many issues of lack of representation and discrimination among IT workers. While 47% of the workforce is women, they only fill 25% of computing roles – and of those 25%, just 5% are Asian, 3% are Black, and 1% are Hispanic. The lack of women in IT is, of course, not just seen in the workforce, in 2016 women only earned 19% of conferred CS degrees. Those in minority groups also perceive significant discrimination and are much less satisfied with their technology jobs. While 58% of women believe gender discrimination happens frequently, only 31% of men have the same perception. Similarly, 48% of Black IT workers have experienced racial discrimination compared to 30% of Hispanics, 31% of Asian, 23% for Indian, and 9% for white workers. Compensation, promotions, and respect for work continue to be challenges for all diversity groups.

These challenges present opportunities for forward-looking companies to implement policies, practices, and cultures that support a diverse workforce. The will is there among many CIOs with 72% in a recent survey stating that they prioritize diversity and inclusion in hiring, and 77% believing innovation increases with a more diverse workforce. There are many ways to become a more inclusive and welcoming workplace, but none are simple fixes – they require deep and sustained commitment on the part of everyone in the organization – especially among those in leadership roles who need to model and reinforce inclusive behavior. But establishing inclusive workplaces carries great potential rewards as it enables a company to attract talent from a wider pool and retain talent that otherwise would have left.

The NEW Digital Alliance has launched several initiatives that companies, and tech workers can use to support creating a more inclusive environment and attract talent from a wider pool. We have organized round table discussions focused on upskilling and reskilling the existing workforce to take on IT job roles. Many of those attracted to pursuing these efforts come from underrepresented groups. We also collect data to understand the IT landscape in New North. All three of our surveys on K-12, higher ed, and industry collect data on gender participation in IT in the region. We have recently launched all three so please check in your organization to make sure the data is being collected. This will allow us to direct efforts to understand the entire IT talent pipeline and work on expanding access and opportunity throughout the region.

Read More – many of the statistics cited above came from these recent articles and reports that explore tech careers and diversity:

Unemployment Updates

Demand for talent continues to remain strong for Wisconsin and the New North region. National demand for tech talent also remains high, with the tech unemployment rate for February (2.4%) staying the same as January (2.4%), and lower than pre-pandemic levels of 3% in January 2020.

Data Sources: CompTia IT Employment Tracker, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and New North IntelTracker



Regional News

Envision 2021: Improving the Customer Experience with AI

Welcome to Envision! AI is delivering real value in business and is changing the world as we know it. It’s being implemented across all industries and business functions creating unprecedented efficiencies in human productivity. Organizations that successfully apply AI within their business will be able to innovate and compete more effectively while delivering an unrivaled customer experience.

Please join EDCi for premiere Customer Experience and AI conference. We have a great line up of speakers and topics that will give you a lot to think about when it comes to AI and creating an excellent experience for your customers. The conference will be virtual this year instead of in person – we hope to return to our in-person event in 2022. Speaker session will be spread over 5 weeks with one session per week making it easy to fit into your busy schedule.

More Information

Extended Learning Program for Code.org CSD and CSP Alumni

Marquette PUMP-CS is pleased to announce the CS Discoveries and CS Principles Expanded Learning Program (ELP), a two-and-a-half day summer professional development experience created by a collective of Midwest Code.org Regional Partners. June 22-24, 2021.   

  • Teachers from Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin who have previously participated in a year-long professional learning program for Code.org CS Discoveries or Code.org CS Principles from 2016-2020 are eligible to attend.
  • Includes refreshers tracks for CSD (focus on units 1-3, or 4-6) and CSP (AP and non-AP focus)
  • Includes Unconference — opportunity to share resources, tips and tricks.
  • Virtual
  • No cost to participants

The Marquette University Computer Science Competition will be held on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 in a virtual format. There will continue to be three divisions – Scratch, Java or APCS Principles.  More information here: https://pumpcs.mu.edu/competi.html

Register Here

Monthly Evening CS Get-togethers by CSTA Wi-Dairyland

CSTA Wisconsin Dairyland leaders are facilitating monthly sharing sessions throughout the year to help support teachers.  We can all learn so much from each other!  The next and last session for this school year is April 21, 2021  at 7pm-8pm.   Join in the conversation using this Zoom info:

CSTA Sharing Sessions
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 918 3513 8697
Passcode: 223963

Please join us!  If you have ideas for a future session please  contact our co-Presidents Amy Fetherston at fetheram@wauwatosa.k12.wi.us or Linnea Logan at linnea.logan@wfbschools.com. Thanks – we can’t wait to see everyone

Become a Code.org facilitator for CS Discoveries

As the Code.org Regional Partner for Wisconsin, Marquette is currently accepting applications for an additional Wisconsin-based workshop facilitator for the CS Discoveries curriculum:


If you are or have been a middle grades teacher with experience teaching computer science and/or teacher professional development, please consider applying above.  The application deadline is March 8, 2021.  Please contact Prof Dennis Brylow < brylow@mscs.mu.edu if you have questions!

Best Regards,

Dennis Brylow – Vice-Chair, Marquette University Computer Science

More Information

Wisconsin 2021 Aspirations in Computing Virtual Awards

NCWIT-WI Wisconsin Affiliate is pleased to announce that Holly Baumgart, VP of Information Technology, Sargento Foods, and Bridget Quinn, Regional Affiliate Manager, NCWIT, are the keynote speakers for the Wisconsin 2021 Aspirations in Computing Virtual Awards event on Sunday May 16, 2021 from 2-3:30 p.m. We are very excited to have two accomplished women presenting, encouraging, and inspiring the wonderful group of young women who will be honoring that afternoon for their own accomplishments. The future looks very bright for these #girlsintech who aspire to become #womenintech. 

Learn More

Announcing Scholarships for High School Seniors Pursuing STEM Degrees

STEM Forward is excited to announce two $2500 scholarships for high school seniors pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) program at a two-year or four-year technical college or university. One is specific to seniors in southeastern WI that have participated in STEM programming. The second scholarship, the Elizabeth Brauer Scholarship, is for females graduating from Milwaukee Public Schools. Applications are due April 18, 2021.

Apply Here

Computer Science Talent Ecosystem Youth Updates

The Computer Science Talent Ecosystem Youth (CSTEY) celebrated it’s one year anniversary this past February.  Throughout the past year, the ecosystem has focused on supporting the Brown County school districts to build and develop their K-12 computer science (CS) pathways.  Several districts participated in the CSforALL SCRIPT workshop which provided districts an opportunity to evaluate their current K-12 computer science scope and sequence.  By the end of the workshop, districts had developed short, medium, and long-term goals to move forward with developing a more structured K-12 CS framework.  To help support districts to move forward with their goals, the ecosystem is continuing to offer FREE professional development opportunities to participating districts.  District staff can register for grade level specific curriculum development from various providers such as Code.org, the Carnegie Mellon University CS Academy, and Popfizz. 

Along with support to grow curriculum offerings through staff development, the ecosystem is partnering with the Greater Green Bay Chamber to grow the number of Information Technology (IT) Youth Apprenticeships (YA).  Currently IT YA’s make up less than five percent of the total YA’s across the state of Wisconsin.  The Youth Apprenticeship program is focused on offering high school students’ an opportunity to use their developed IT skills in a paid work experience by assigning skilled mentors to work with students and expose them to the multiple areas within the IT industry.  The YA program is governed by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.  If your business is interested in learning more about the IT Youth Apprentice please contact Amy Bires at abires@cesa7.org

A special thank you to Jack Brown, Secura Insurance and John Kring, Heartland Business Systems for their partnerships with IT Youth Apprenticeship this year.  You can view student highlight videos from each business and learn more about the CSTEY initiative at CodeWISCO.

More Information

Microsoft TEALS Program Commitment

The Microsoft TEALS Program is excited to continue supporting area high schools to build and grow their computer science courses and pathways.  For the 2020-2021 school year the TEALS Program supported 15 high schools in Northeast Wisconsin and 36 across the state of Wisconsin.  Being able to support teachers and students during this challenging school year, with so many uncertainties at times, was a team effort with over 50 industry volunteers.  Thank you to school administrators who support their teacher’s growth and to area business leaders who support their employees to participate in the TEALS Program. 

As we continue to look forward to the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, the TEALS Program is actively recruiting industry volunteers to volunteer in area computer science classrooms.  The TEALS Program supports three course levels:  Intro to Computer Science, AP Computer Science Principals, and AP Computer Science A.  If you are interested in the learning more about volunteer opportunities in area high schools, please join me for an information session on Thursday, April 15 at 12:00 pm CST or visit www.microsoft.com/teals.

Amy Bires | Northeast Wisconsin Regional Manager | amy@tealsk12.org

TEALS Volunteer Information Session

Thursday, April 15 @ 12:00 pm CST

Virtual via Microsoft Teams


The Microsoft TEALS Program is committed to building equitable, inclusive computer science programs in high schools.

More Information

Free Practice for Praxis CS Exam from CompuScholar

CompuScholar is offering two of their courses and study guides which should prepare you to take the Computer Science Praxis Exam (5652) in Wisconsin.  This is entirely free of charge and offered by CompuScholar in conjunction with the CSTA WI-Dairyland.  The courses are online, self-paced and self-study, so you can get started at any time and take up to 6 months to complete them.

Register Here

Be Brave, Not Perfect: MICROSOFT Girls Who Code Event

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 The Kimberly Area School District and Kimberly- Clark will be hosting their first WIT Wisconsin – Microsoft Girls Workshop for all 5th through 8th grade girls in the KASD district, after our first planned event last year was cancelled. Kimberly-Clark will provide presenters for the workshop and Adafruits for all attendees! The girls will discover new technology through the use of the Adafruits Playground Express Circuit Boards and hear from female technology role models who are excited to share their passion for computer science!