NEW IT Alliance – August Tech Upload

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Exploring the New North

July has been a quiet time for the NEW IT Alliance as we’ve slowed down a bit to take vacation, some time to reflect on objectives and progress for the year so far, regroup, and build relationships to carry us thru the remainder of the year.

Shortly after returning from vacation, where my family and I explored some of Wisconsin’s beautiful nature, the NEW IT Alliance kicked off it’s Explore New North campaign. Leveraging the videos produced by the New North (check out our Life in New North page), we’ve been promoting life here in Northeast Wisconsin along with messaging about tech jobs in the region on our social media channels. Check out some of our posts on LinkedIn and Twitter. Our campaign will continue through the fall, with some targeted messaging in other regions coming in September.

Building IT Leaders

On July 17 WIT (Women in Technology) celebrated three years as an organization. Started in 2015 by Michelle Schuler and her college roommate, Kathy Fredrickson, WIT has grown to over 300 members. During this time they have impacted over 2000 professionals with their breakfast series, 11,000 girls through their WIT4Girls outreach, and 40 female college students through their Professional Connection Program. During the annual meeting in July, WIT recognized 12 members who are making difference in their communities, living the mission of WIT to attract, grow, and retain women and girls in technology. The organization also welcomed Adrienne Hartmann of J. J. Keller & Associates as the new President of WIT, and Michelle Schuler stepped down as their first president. Finally, the organization welcomed their new board members who represent a variety of companies in the region. Congratulations to WIT, their new board members, and the Impact Award recipients!

Growing Future IT Leaders of America

 Heading to Girl Scout camp for Counselor in Training 

Sticking with the girl theme, on July 17 Girl Scouts announced thirty new badges for young women ages 5-18. The new programming includes badges for cybersecurity; programming, designing, and showcasing robots; and Think Like a Programmer. Look for opportunities to help grow these young leaders and assist with their badge requirements moving forward.

WIT4Girls will be hosting their annual Community Info Event on August 30 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at the FVTC Bordini Center. The event is open to educators, and anyone interested in volunteering. If you are looking to get girls in elementary school excited about programming, come and learn about the new club that Girls Who Code just launched for grades 3-5. Come learn about how to host a WIT4Girls or Girls Who Code club at your school or facility, as well as learn what is involved with being a club leader (aside from a lot of fun!). Click here to register.

There has been a lot of focus in recent years, both locally and nationally, on engaging young women in STEM and IT pathways. And while the statistics show that efforts in this area need to continue, we are also witnessing a disturbing trend amongst young men.

A recent news article in USA Today indicates that young men, ages 13-17, are losing interest in pursuing STEM careers while interest among young women remains unchanged at 11%. The news article cites a study done by Ernst & Young (EY) which indicates a drastic drop in interest from 36% of boys wanting a STEM career in 2017 to only 24% in 2018. While their dream jobs may not fall into the traditional STEM areas, students are indicating the desire to learn more about technology and relationship building. This is why the efforts of the NEW IT Alliance are so critical. We are reaching out to the Scouting organizations to explore how we might team up to reverse this trend in our region. In addition, the NEW CS Advisory Board, launching on September 27, will be exploring how to expose more students to computer science and the IT field. And of course, our NEW Connect IT event on November 14 is designed to connect students with employers and IT professionals so they can explore the diversity of IT careers in Northeast Wisconsin. If you are interested in making a difference, please join us at one or both events. Registration for both events is open now.

Thinking outside the box…

Other organizations in the region are also working to stem the tide of disinterest in STEM, while at the same time working to connect students to employers. Elsewhere in the newsletter is an article about the INSPIRE Sheboygan County Youth Co-op program which was launched this year. The article highlights how Sheboygan is thinking outside the box to solve the talent shortage in manufacturing, automotive, and healthcare careers. They would love to expand this to include IT and are looking for forward-thinking companies/IT departments willing to open their doors to high school students. To learn more, read on and contact Nikki Kiss.

Another opportunity to attract and grow local talent is to start a Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program at your facility. Youth Apprenticeships are widely leveraged in the manufacturing space to attract talent right out of their sophomore year of high school. Companies leveraging this program often find the students stick around after graduation and apply for full-time positions at the company. Forward-thinking companies such as Bemis and Oshkosh Corp have implemented YA programs in their IT and engineering departments. Learn more about Youth Apprenticeships here. (Andrew – let’s add the YA link to the website and include that here.)

Learn More about Youth Apprenticeships

Talent Pipeline

One of the major issues school districts are facing is the persistent problem with getting teachers trained to be able to teach the new digital skills. Fortunately, Sandy Bader from De Pere schools is our Regional Trainer and is offering FREE Digital Skills and Computer Science Teacher Training this summer and fall. Sessions are offered at multiple dates and locations throughout Northeast Wisconsin. For more detail, contact Sandy at

Milwaukee is paying attention to what our Alliances are doing here in Northeast Wisconsin, and recently published their Milwaukee Tech Talent study which looks at technology roles across numerous disciplines. They take a broad view of how they define technology (it’s not just in the IT department anymore!) and are anticipating a 31,000 headcount gap in the next 5 years!! Of these, roughly 11,000 are in traditional IT positions. Numbers in this report do not include the impact of Foxconn’s facilities. The NEW IT Alliance and organizations within the M7 arena have begun exploring ways to collaborate and aleve the tech talent shortage.

Are you interested in learning how to get on board to solve the IT talent shortage? Reach out to Kim Iversen at to learn more about what we’re doing and how you can engage.

Coming Up

The NEW IT Alliance is excited to collaborate with Insight Magazine to launch a quarterly magazine dedicated to technology in the New North region. The title is Insights on Technology (IoT) and the first issue will come out in November. If you have ideas for content or would like to advertise, please reach out to MaryBeth Matzek at

You can mark your calendar for the next Tech Community meeting on November 29, 2-4pm. We will have a panel of local companies and higher education institutions discussing ways to upskill or reskill their existing workforce to better support IT.

Regional News

Backing up data is not enough when planning for disaster recovery

July 12, 2018
Column by Steve Swiecichowski,
SRC Technologies Director of Service Delivery

Without sufficient preparation and protocol, the downtime for businesses – big and small – impacted by IT disruption can be costly for even a minute.

GREEN BAY, Wis. — When it comes to disaster recovery, complacency is the biggest hurdle most organizations face. Who wants to think about, spend money on and plan for a disaster that might never occur – especially when everything is working just fine? Nobody.

But if you ask those same people when disaster will strike, or what kind of disaster they think may happen to their data, they realize that disaster-recovery solutions are really an insurance policy for their business. Most people understand the need to back up their data and to store a copy off-site, and while that is important, backing up data is just the first step in a disaster-recovery plan.

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Award Winners for Women in Technology Wisconsin Announced

About Women in Technology Wisconsin:  The mission of Women in Technology – Wisconsin (WIT) is to grow, attract, and retain women in technology-related careers. With programming designed for women in executive, senior, manager and entry-level technology positions, WIT provides an opportunity for networking, exchanging of ideas, and personal and professional growth. For more information, visit

July 23, 2018 – Appleton, Wis.  – Women in Technology Wisconsin (WIT) has announced the winners of their Impact Awards for their 2017-2018 season. The non-profit organization, founded in 2014, focuses on collaborating with the community of Northeast Wisconsin to help encourage girls and retain women in technology careers. Their involvement reaches over 16 counties in Northeast Wisconsin and has impacted over 11,000 students.

Impact Award recognizes WIT Member role models who are making significant contributions to their community through their time, actions, talents, and dedication.

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Click here to see the winners

Officers for Women in Technology Wisconsin Announced

Officers for Women in Technology Wisconsin Announced

July 23, 2018 – Appleton, Wis.  – Women in Technology Wisconsin (WIT) has announced their Board of Directors for their 2018-2019 season. The non-profit organization, founded in 2014, focuses on collaborating with the community of Northeast Wisconsin to help encourage girls and retain women in technology careers. Their involvement reaches over 16 counties in Northeast Wisconsin and has impacted over 11,000 students.

Click here to see who was announced

Stellar Blue Technologies hosting final workshop of the summer

If you aren’t executing a strong social presence, this is a missed opportunity to drive traffic to your website.  Learn the do’s and don’ts of social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn) for your organization at the final Stellar Blue Technologies workshop of the summer, August 14th from 8:00-9:00, at the Stellar Blue studio located at 1580 Lyon, Dr. Neenah.”

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Register today for a FREE workshop on Social Media Strategy

Lakeland University adopts new Co-op program

Lakeland University has adopted a Cooperative Education program across all of its majors as a new way for students to earn a bachelor’s degree. This 4-year co-op program is designed to blend with a traditional 4-year degree at Lakeland. The program has created a new community economic development resource as Lakeland has partnered with more than a dozen local employers to make this program a reality.

Lakeland is the only liberal arts and sciences school in the Upper Midwest offering this program.

Lakeland students work in full-time, academic credit-bearing positions for partner companies, earning 12-18 months of professional work experience and networking opportunities while continuing to progress towards their degree. Between scholarships and wages, students in this program may earn up to $100,000 in four years, significantly reducing or eliminating post-graduation debt. If these students chose to settle in the area after graduation, they’re able to contribute to the local economy right away without the burden of excessive student loan debts.

Employers have access to a new talent pool at a time when unemployment is low and hiring has been challenging, and they can “test drive” possible longer-term employees.

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INSPIRE High School Co-op Program (Sheboygan)

The INSPIRE Sheboygan County Youth Co-op program is a work-based learning opportunity that links classroom instruction with “real world” work experience in related occupations. The Co-op program provides on the job training and evaluation through carefully planned and supervised experiences with professional mentors in the field.

The Co-op program is open to Sheboygan County students aged 16-18. the Co-op experience is a minimum of 75 hours within an academic quarter. A summer program was also piloted this year. Students apply and interview for paid positions and also receive 1/2 credit upon successful completion of the Co-op. Students may explore a variety of career fields or industries over the course of their high school career, giving them much better insight into a potential path after graduation. The program offers experiences in the fields of manufacturing, automotive and healthcare.

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Werner Electric Supply unveils its Multifunction Instrument Asset (MIA)

MIA – New Innovative Process Control Trainer

MIA, (MEE-ah) stands for multifunction instrument asset, and is an innovative process control trainer developed by Werner Electric Supply which can simulate the many processes found in manufacturing plants. MIA is an 82″x 26″x 80″ mobile unit which can be utilized for customer, college, and high school student automation process control training. The trainer was designed by Rodney Howard P.E., Werner Electric Supply product manager for process controls, with design recommendations from the International Society of Automation (ISA). The ISA is a leading global, nonprofit organization with more than 40,000 members worldwide and a training partner to Werner Electric. Many of the instruments that make up MIA were generously donated by Werner Electric’s vendors.


Video Courtesy of Red Shoes Ink

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Five Skyline Associates Speak at THAT Conference 2018

At THAT Conference 2018, five Skyline Technologies associates will be speaking on many exciting topics from AI to VR. Brandon Martinez, Michael Fazio, Greg Levenhagen, Jeremiah Billmann, and John Ptacek are all-conference veterans, having presented at least three times since its inception.

Make sure to also stop by Skyline Technologies’ booth for a chance to win one of many cool board games, as well as a 3D printer.

THAT Conference is a self-described “summer camp for geeks” where developers can explore the internet of things and all technologies used for mobile, web and cloud. This year it is being held at the Wisconsin Dells’ Kalahari Resort from August 6-8.

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