April 2022 Tech Upload

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Alliance News:

Even though winter is hanging on and having a hard time letting go, we are seeing signs of spring. Robins and blackbirds are back. Daffodils are peeking up. People manage to catch a ray of sunshine while on a walk in between the snow and rain showers. And so it is in IT – new beginnings are here with a new crop of graduates looking for jobs, and a cohort of hardy teachers about to become licensed CS teachers.

The NEW Digital Alliance Quarterly Meeting was on March 24 with a great conversation about Registered IT Apprenticeships. Tom Caldie and Jessica Williams from the Department of Workforce Development presented on how companies can get started and sustain an adult IT Apprenticeship program. Such a program has the potential for companies to attract an alternative pool of candidates for badly needed IT roles. Many companies have found that adult apprentices are more committed to the company and stays employed longer than other new hires. These apprenticeships have been defined for a number of different IT pathways, including service desk, cybersecurity, and software analyst.

Meeting participants also received valuable advice to avoid problems, such as how to ensure apprentices stay on after they complete their apprenticeships. During the discussion portion of the meeting, we were fortunate to hear how Associated Bank and Kohls have implemented adult apprenticeships. We also heard from Secura who have started a Youth Apprenticeship program for high school students. This allowed us to compare and contrast Youth and Adult Apprenticeships.

Last month’s CS Advisory Board meeting brought together many K-12, higher ed, and IT professionals to discuss progress and future of how K-12 school districts create pathways for their CS programs to help guide which courses to offer and provide value to students who can tailor their course selection towards specific college majors and careers.

Our next CS Advisory Board meeting will be on May 4 where we will discuss opportunities to integrate Artificial Intelligence in K-12 courses. This will dovetail nicely with Day of AI on May 13. DayOfAI.org provides a wealth of free hands-on activities to introduce K-12 students to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the role it plays in their lives (How did my phone recognize my face? Why am I being shown these social media posts?).

Over the past year, we have had a group of dedicated teachers working very hard as a cohort to earn a CS teaching license. In fact, one of them, Harley Griesbach from Shiocton has already taken and passed the licensure exam. Congratulations, Harley! Another 11 teachers are planning to take the exam in the next couple of months. Best of luck to all of you! It has been a wonderful experience to work with you over this past year.  For comparison, in the last five years, only two teachers in the entire state have earned a CS Teacher License. We could have six times that number very shortly, which will go a long way towards helping school districts be able to increase computer science offerings.

Dates to know

April 21: NEWDA Cybersecurity Roundtable – Building a Cyber Team, Skills and Tools

May 4: NEW CS Advisory meeting

May 7: World Password Day

May 13: Day of AI (https://www.dayofai.org/)

We look forward to sharing the positive impact we are making in the year to come.

Join us to help make a difference in Northeast Wisconsin.

Regional News

Expanding Elementary Computer Science

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You're Invited! 11th Annual Aspirations in Computing Awards

You’re Invited!
11th Annual Aspirations in Computing Awards – Wisconsin Affiliate of NCWIT

Award Ceremony, May 1, 2022

1:00pm to 4:30pm

Milwaukee School of Engineering University (MSOE) Kern Fieldhouse

Honoring 138 Wisconsin high school scholars: young women, genderqueer and non-binary students on their journey toward careers in technology

along with three outstanding computing educator awardees 

We will be joined by two distinguished guests 
Laurie Panella, Chief Information Officer, Marquette University
Bridget Quinn, Regional Aspirations Manager, NCWIT 

as well as college computing programs plus a large number of professionals in IT.

Please register for the FREE event by April 25, 2022

Hosted by: NCWIT-Wisconsin
Founding Sponsor:  PDS

Gold Sponsor:  Associated Bank
Silver Sponsors:  Manpower Group, MSOE, Northwestern Mutual
Bronze Sponsors:  Direct Supply, Generac, MATC, MKE Tech Coalition, SIM, Verizon


Questions? Please email ncwit.wi@gmail.com


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Digital Literacy Grant Award

(Green Bay) – Meaningful employment earning a family-supporting wage is a challenge for many Northeastern Wisconsinites, and subpar digital literacy can pose significant barriers for many people looking to enter the workforce or improve their employment situation.

Increasingly, technology is used in training programs and the modern workplace. Digital literacy, or rather, the lack of it, now becomes an obstacle for those wanting to upgrade their skills, boost their wages and improve their quality of life. Unemployment or under-employment (described as “not working but available to work, part-time work, full-time work at a non-sustaining wage, or working multiple jobs to make ends meet”) digital literacy can boost a job applicant’s appeal to a prospective employer and open a new door to better jobs.

The Bay Area Workforce Development Board (“Bay Area WDB”) is excited to announce that gener8tor Management, LLC (“gener8tor”) will receive a grant award of up to $400,000.00 to design, implement, and deliver programming to target area populations through the Bay Area WDB’s new “Digital Literacy Skills Preparation & Training” program. 

The Digital Literacy Skills Preparation & Training program is being funded with a portion of a $1.6M grant Bay Area WDB received to further serve individuals whose previous employment has not come back post-pandemic, as well as those who were not attached to or were not successful in the labor market prior to the pandemic.  The grant is the result of the Worker Advancement Initiative (WAI) administrated by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, with funds originating from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). 

Additionally, an outreach emphasis will be placed on underserved populations where the digital skills gap is even greater.  In our region, underserved populations are Black-Non-Hispanics, White-Hispanics, and Asian-Non-Hispanics.  The pandemic shed light on the digital gaps in the workplace and the Digital Literacy Skills program offers the training that could tip the scales for individuals within these underserved populations. “We now see digital literacy as a basic skill requirement necessary for success in the world of work, continuing education, and many aspects of our daily lives,” said Matt Valiquette, Executive Director at Bay Area WDB, “It makes sense that enhancing or improving digital literacy would be an appropriate first step for many on the path to prosperity.”

As facilitators of the Digital Literacy Skills program, gener8tor will provide participant recruiting, digital learning and skills training, work readiness, career pathway coaching, and will connect graduates with employers.  Recently, gener8tor partnered with New North, WI Regional Economic Development Organization and Microsoft Techspark to help unemployed people in Northeast WI get back to work.  This grant award will continue this work and create additional pipelines for historically marginalized residents through enhanced partnerships.  

In addition, gener8tor will leverage other career and educational programs offered by Bay Area WDB through the Workforce Innovation Opportunities Act (WIOA), such as technical training, career coaching, and wrap around services, including transportation, childcare, and living expenses when necessary.

Bay Area WDB and this grant program will serve Brown, Door, Florence, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano, and Sheboygan counties. gener8tor will begin the Digital Literacy Skills Preparation & Training program on April 1st, with project funding through September 30, 2023.  For more information, contact Vickie Patterson at Bay Area WDB, 920-492-0196, vpatterson@bayareawdb.org.