December 2020 Tech Upload
NEW Digital News
Thank You Alliance Members
The NEW Digital Alliance would like to thank NSight for their support as an executive-level investor in 2020. To learn more about NSight, click here.
The Phoenix and the NEW Digital Alliance
The phoenix is a mythological bird known for its ability to periodically regenerate itself by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. This is the image we have kept in front of us during this unprecedented year as we’ve moved to new forms of connecting with one another, rebranded the Alliance, and continued to look toward the future. As we move through the holiday season and look toward the end of 2020, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on how far we’ve come and share with you where we’re headed in 2021.
There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic looms large over 2020, and certainly had an effect on the NEW Digital Alliance as well. We had to cancel some events and move many others to virtual formats. We missed seeing many of you in person, but were fortunate to have been able to transition to virtual formats for many meetings and events. We hope to reconnect in 2021 both virtually and in person.
Back in early spring, we embarked on a rebranding of the NEW IT Alliance to become the NEW Digital Alliance with an expanded mission covering all aspects of digital talent. We have continued this transition throughout the year with a new website, revamped logo, and some new graphics. With the new branding, we have engaged in several new initiatives around broadband access, innovation, and digital transformation.
After the Safer-At-Home order was issued in March, in addition to moving meetings and events virtually, we convened a group of people with representation from businesses, labor boards, economic development, and higher education to discuss strategies to support workers displaced due to the pandemic and to find new opportunities with digital careers. This work culminated in a letter signed by local campus and business representatives that was sent to all the federal lawmakers representing Northeast Wisconsin urging them to provide funding for reskilling the workforce. We also helped the Department of Workforce Development on marketing drive-thru job fairs at several locations in the region where job packets quickly ran out.
To help us become the premier authority on the state of the IT workforce in Northeast Wisconsin, we launched the NEW IT Professional Community survey seeking information from businesses in the region on the state and plans for their IT workforce. We presented results from the survey along with data from K-12 and Higher Education at our Tech Talent Summit in October. You can find more details on what we found in our Annual Report and on our website.
Over the summer and early fall we launched several new initiatives – several in collaboration with other groups in the region:
Participated in New North’s Broadband EDA Grant Taskforce to increase broadband throughout Northeast Wisconsin.
Launched the Breadth of Awareness Taskforce, part of a New North effort to help increase digital maturity and innovation in the region.
Launched the NEW Digital Alliance Innovation and Collaboration ThinkTank to help grow corporate and education connections in the region as a way to help drive innovation.
Relaunched our Marketing Committee, increasing visibility, and impact in the community.
Participated in the New North Launch Alliance focused on growing the entrepreneur ecosystem in Northeast Wisconsin.
Participated in New North’s Intel Tracker discussions to develop a regional dashboard designed to track economic trends in the region
On the personnel front, we had to wish Kaitlyn Alexander, our intern for two years good-bye as she is pursuing her professional career after graduating from UW Oshkosh. We are grateful for all her contributions and wish her all the best. We were fortunate to be able to hire a new intern to replace her. Madi Hilmershausen started in October and has already been busy with social media, newsletters, and marketing materials. We are still fortunate to have our high school intern, Grace Vanden Heuvel working on website maintenance, and automation tasks.
We published our Annual Report in October with a look back at the activities and milestones we achieved in the previous year. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can get a link on our website. The TechTalent Summit we hosted on October 13 provided an overview of the state of IT in Northeast Wisconsin based on the annual report and other data sources. The Tech Talent Summit also featured a panel discussing remote work challenges including: cyber safety, hiring and building culture, and battling zoom fatigue. A copy of the presentation and a link to the event recording are available on our Quarterly Meetings Page.
Most recently we hosted a revamped NEW Connect IT. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to host the event at Lambeau Field. Instead, we leveraged technology for more intimate connections between IT professionals, educators, and students in six separate sessions. At each session we featured IT professionals talking about what their IT job entails, and higher education representatives introducing students to the educational pathways available to take on those jobs. Students then had an opportunity to ask questions directly of the panelists leading to lively discussion.
Looking ahead to 2021, we will be working on becoming a stand-alone non-profit with 501.c(3) status and a true board of directors. We will also relaunch TechTalks at our local colleges – virtually in the spring and hopefully in person in the fall. We continue to offer our quarterly meetings with updates on the Alliance and topics of interest to IT professionals in the regions. Contact us at email@example.com to learn how you and your company can get involved.
We hope you will join us at these and many other events that will take place throughout the year. You can keep up on what’s going on in the region in future editions of this newsletter as well as on the Events page on our website.
Best wishes for the holidays!
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 October (2.8%) lower than pre-pandemic levels of 3% in January 2020.
Data Sources: CompTia IT Employment Tracker and New North Region Unemployment Tracker (not yet published).
NEW Connect IT Testimonial
Dear Ms. Iversen,
I would like to thank you very much for hosting the IT Careers job shadow that was through Inspire Sheboygan County. I realize that this took time away from your regular schedule and responsibilities. I am very thankful for all the information that you gave in these sessions. Being in IT takes a lot of hard work and dedication, so for you to take the time to explain to us what someone in this field would do every day means so much.
During the session, I learned about the different IT career opportunities available, with some being through NEW Digital Alliance. I found that there are several different occupations, each with their own unique tasks and jobs. Being a programmer was one that caught my eye, and you helped me realize that it is as interesting as it seems. The session truly helped narrow down such a wide range of careers. It also helped me figure out the classes I would have to take if I decide to go down this path. I am still undecided on what I would like to do after high school, but this helped me out immensely.
So again, thank you very much for giving me this valuable learning experience.