‘MKE Hour of Code’ Initiative By MKE Tech Hub Coalition Aims to Develop Local Tech Talent

Milwaukee, Wisc. November 16, 2020 – Over 70 regional companies, nonprofit organizations and schools including higher education institutions will participate in the MKE Hour of Code initiative during Computer Science Education Week, December 7–13. The regional initiative, part of Code.org’s national Hour of Code™ movement, sponsored by the MKE Tech Hub Coalition, and powered by Newaukee, challenges area professionals to teach an hour of code to local students and/or demonstrate job opportunities that exist in STEM throughout the region.

According to Code.org, Wisconsin has over 6,000 open computing jobs but only 42 percent of the state’s public high schools teach even a foundational computer science course.

MKE Hour of Code is a key initiative of the MKE Tech Hub Coalition’s K-20 subcommittee, which is working to retain graduates with diverse backgrounds in the greater Milwaukee region interested in working in tech related fields.

“The Coalition strives to have all students in the greater MKE region understand their potential to contribute to the #mketech ecosystem regardless of what they choose to study after high school. Tech is part of almost all occupations across industry sectors. It is truly incredible to see how the community can come together around such an important cause,” said Laura Schmidt, Chief Talent Development Officer for the Coalition.

This is the third year area businesses, nonprofits and educators will come together to provide STEM learning opportunities at this scale. This year, the MKE Tech Hub Coalition anticipates that most volunteers will participate virtually but aims to sustain a minimum of 5,000 hours of code despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with the active support of Coalition members and the greater MKE community at large. A toolkit for planning virtual activities and resources for turnkey curriculum are available for all registered participants.

MKE Tech Hub Coalition members participating in the MKE Hour of Code initiative include Accenture, Baird, Beyond STEM, Carroll University, Codeworks, Concurrency, GE Healthcare, Gearbox Labs, Godfrey & Kahn, HPGM, Landmark Credit Union, MARS Solutions Group, Molson Coors, NCWIT Wisconsin, Northwestern Mutual, Nvisia, Rockwell Automation, SHARP Literacy, Talimer, West Bend Mutual Insurance, Young Enterprising Society and 88Nine Radio Milwaukee.

“At Northwestern Mutual, we believe that every student should have access to tech learning; however, we know that’s not always possible,” said Stacy Zaja, MKE Tech Coalition K-20 Subcommittee Member and Assistant Director – STEM Outreach at Northwestern Mutual. “With some schools cutting back on Computer Science programs this year as a result of the pandemic and virtual learning challenges, this year’s Hour of Code is arguably more important than ever and it is energizing to see the diversity of organizations coming together to drive collective impact to help expose more students to Computer Science in the Milwaukee region.”

Educators across fourteen regional school districts will participate including Cedarburg, Elkhorn, Elmbrook, Greendale, Kenosha, Milwaukee, New Berlin, Oconomowoc, Shorewood, St. Francis, Waukesha, Wauwatosa, Whitefish Bay and Whitnall.

This year, the MKE Tech Hub has added a few new features to the experience such as matching industry volunteers to schools in need, an events calendar to see what is all going on throughout the week and who is involved, public events, uniquely MKE Hour of Code experiences, and ‘What’s next after the Hour of Code’ resources including a plan for following up with participants after the event.

To learn more about the MKE Hour of Code initiative and to sign up and/or simply log your hours, visit mkehourofcode.org.


MKE Tech Hub Coalition strives to double the tech workforce in southeastern Wisconsin by 2025 to drive economic success and innovation in the region.  To learn more, visit www.mketech.org.

NEWaukee is an agency with over a decade of experience in helping organizations create transformational programming and brand engagement. To learn more, visit newaukee.com.



Images from previous years are available for your use upon request. Contact wyatt@newaukee.com.

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