September 2021 Tech Upload

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NEW Digital News

Thank You Alliance Members

The NEW Digital Alliance would like to thank J.J. Keller & Associates for their support as a Strategic Investor in 2021 and Amplify Oshkosh/Oshkosh Chamber for their support as a Community Partner in 2021. To learn more about J.J. Keller & Associates or Amplify Oshkosh, click on their names!

Alliance News:

Schools are back in session, and that means a number of opportunities to connect with and grow the technology pipeline are kicking off. These efforts are sorely needed as IT unemployment plunged to 1.5% in August. This is far lower than the 3% unemployment rate for IT pre-pandemic. In order to change these numbers – both now and for the future, it is critical that we work at all levels of the talent pipeline both nationally and locally. With 51% of high schools in the state teaching a computer science class ( and Microsoft’s Digital Equity Scorecard ranking Wisconsin a 3.3 out of 6 ( we have work to do here in Wisconsin to help prepare our workforce for the increasing number of jobs that require digital skills.

NEW Digital Alliance Director, Kim Iversen, was recently interviewed for the Fox Valley: WI Work Here podcast. In the interview, she shares information about the need for tech talent, including data about the number of IT graduates across the state vs. the number of open IT positions. And for those individuals considering a career change, she shares skills and educational pathways that can help you succeed.

NEW Digital Alliance has partnered with CSTEY to launch an initiative to help middle and high school teachers obtain their CS licensure. This will ensure that teachers currently teaching computer science without their CS License can continue doing so. The cohort program will also grow the number of computer science teachers in the state of Wisconsin, and thereby help grow the number of computer science offerings across the state. Launching on September 28, teachers in the program will be guided through the preparation materials for their licensure exam. They will have the opportunity to learn about 2- and 4-year college programs their students can attend, and will have the opportunity to attend a college-level cybersecurity class. Teachers will also meet with IT professionals across northeast Wisconsin, building a network that they can reach out to for classroom speakers, real-world examples, and more. Through participation in the cohort, they will also connect with other computer science teachers across the state, developing a peer support network. The ecosystem is designed to help improve computer science education.

We would like to thank Microsoft for sponsoring the exam fees for the majority of the teachers who have applied for the cohort. If you or your company would like to be a cohort sponsor please reach out to


In November, the NEW Digital Alliance will be hosting the NEW Connect IT virtual Career Fair for high school students. This annual career fair is in its 5th year and has grown from 250 students to over 600 students attending. Students learn about IT careers from IT employees, as well as the educational pathways that will help them prepare for those roles.

Traditionally this has been a face-to-face event, open to all employers in the region. However, as we are continuing in a virtual format this year, we are limiting the volunteer opportunities to our investors. This allows organizations to get in front of your future workforce to promote your brand, as well as the exciting careers in your technology departments.

Registration will be open for schools and students by October 1, with schools across the state encouraged to participate.

Our call for volunteers went out to our investors last week. If you would like to participate as a panel volunteer, contact

New Cybersecurity Center of Excellence for Community

Because digital awareness is important now more than ever, UW-Oshkosh recently announced their collaboration with Tech Data and the Wisconsin Cyber Threat Response Alliance (WICTRA) to build a Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (CCOE) on-campus as a resource for the entire community. 

The cyber range will allow private and public organizations to learn or sharpen their cyber warfare skills on real-world malware and build toolkits to track breaches.

UW-Oshkosh IS Professor, Michael Patton, believes no company or individual is immune to cyber-attacks: “Your digital identity is more you than your actual identity,” he advocated. “There are glaring cyber security needs, and if you get attacked it has a domino effect on your entire business or life.” 

NEW Digital Alliance staff had the opportunity to help ‘build-to-launch’ the cyber warfare range at the CCOE build held Thursday, August 25th through Sunday, August 28th of 2021.

“It’s all about manifesting the Wisconsin idea: that education should influence lives beyond the classroom,” explained Patton. “The Cybersecurity Center of Excellence can be used as a recruiting tool to attract better instructors, as well as provide better teaching for the students.” 

Our Youth Intern, Ryker Zak, gained first-hand experience at the CCOE build coding under Tech Data’s Advanced Solutions Team Director, Brett Scott. 

“I wanted to let students like Ryker struggle a little bit,” Scott said. “I purposely did the code wrong in the beginning so the kids can learn. This is something they’ll always remember.”

Because of Zak’s apparent passion for technology, he was also presented with his own computer at the build by WICTRA director Jerry Eastman. Ryker celebrated the surprise with his father, mother, and sister: Bruce Zak, Tracy Zak, and Kaitlin Zak.

At the CCOE build, we learned:

  • Unfilled cybersecurity jobs are expected to reach 1.8 million by 2022 (Brett Scott &
  • More than 80% of U.S. companies have been hacked (
  • The fact that almost everyone on this planet is now more reliant on information and communication technology means, for cybercriminals, that there’s a booming criminal opportunity
  • Whether you’re an individual, a small business, a large organization, or even a government, you’re at risk of being targeted for cybercrime
  • Without cyber security, you could lose sensitive information, money, or reputation
  • Be cautious of emails inside and outside of your organization
  • Don’t click on that cat video! 

To learn more about the glaring need for cybersecurity, visit

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 August dropping to (1.5%) and lower than pre-pandemic levels of 3% in January 2020. National unemployment was at 5.2% for August. Wisconsin and Northeast Wisconsin data for August was unavailable at the time of publication.

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

Regional News

Calling all Middle School Teachers - Future City Project Based Learning Competition

Regional Competition on Saturday, January 15, 2022

MSOE Kern Center – Milwaukee, WI

Future City is a project-based learning program where students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades imagine, research, design, and build cities of the future.

Registration is now open for next year’s program. Wisconsin does not charge a registration fee, so take a few minutes and sign up!

Next year’s theme challenge is “Design a waste-free city that uses the principles of a circular economy.”

Imagine a city 100 years in the future that generates no waste and no pollution. Is this even possible? If we look to the natural world, the answer is yes! In nature, one organism’s waste is another organism’s food. Nutrients and energy flow in a cycle of growth, decay, and reuse. This is called a circular system.

Today’s built world works as a linear system (think of it as a straight line, rather than nature’s circle). This linear system follows a path of taking natural resources, making products, using them, and then throwing away anything that is left over after we are done with it – from empty water bottles to old cars. This results in a lot of trash and pollution and is using up the world’s natural resources. 

But what if cities followed nature’s circular system? A city run on such a system would be truly waste free.

Still not sure what exactly that means? Check out this one-pager for an explanation. Questions? Contact Heather Dummer Combs at

More Information

Automation and Coding Camp

This past July, Fox Valley Technical College and the Wautoma Area School District partnered to offer middle school students an Automation and Coding Camp. The camp was designed to get middle and high school students excited about the different areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) associated with the field of automation and coding. The capstone experience involved students designing, fabricating, wiring, assembling and programming fully automated miniature greenhouses.

The students learned about electricity and electronics, computer programming, microcontrollers and computational thinking. They had the opportunity to wire different circuits, solder, hook up and program sensors, and use multiple fabrication techniques to build the actual greenhouse. Also, students learned about the parts of plants, plant nutrition, and current trends with Smart Agriculture and the future of farming.

Camp participants ultimately built six greenhouse systems that continually recorded the temperature, sensed the moisture level in the soil, watered the plant if the soil was dry, turned on a grow light, and even played a melody for the plants. The skills, knowledge and ways of thinking required to design, build and program the greenhouses fall right in line with what is required to design, maintain and operate automated systems in Manufacturing, Healthcare and Agriculture.

FVTC hopes to run this camp each year with schools and businesses around Northeast Wisconsin to help expose and excite students about the opportunities in the Industry 4.0 job sector now and in the future.  If you are interested in finding out more about the camp and content involved or are interested in sponsoring a camp in the future, please contact Steve Meyer, Manager of STEM Education – FVTC, at