Lake views from the Milwaukee innovation labs

James Hischke

Director – Tech Advancement and Outreach

Jul. 24, 20183 min read

Topics: tech advancement.

Three Reasons to Join the Milwaukee Tech Hub Movement

We’re transforming the Milwaukee region into a thriving, innovation-based economy where technology, entrepreneurship and innovation are core to our success. There are a lot of people doing great things all over southeast Wisconsin to drive this momentum. We all need to “shout from the rooftops” about what's happening here. We can build on that momentum and accelerate the work needed to make our region a nationally ranked home for people and business, built on innovation and technology.

Raising awareness about this is one of my responsibilities at Northwestern Mutual, where I lead our tech advancement and outreach efforts. When people ask why it's so important to focus on these initiatives, I share three key things:

  1. Tech is more important to our economy than people think.
    A new study shows that across southeast Wisconsin, nearly 76,000 workers are employed in technology-related occupations. That's nearly triple what had been previously estimated. Additionally, there are projected to be more than 31,000 technology-related job openings over the next five years due to career changes and replacements. This does not consider the new jobs expected to be created. If we don't start realizing how important technology is to the future of our economy and building up our technology ecosystem at a faster rate, we're going to get left behind.
  2. CEOs are getting on board.
    The initial focus of our work was at the grassroots level. We felt that building authentic relationships with technologists, entrepreneurs, and community builders was the right place to start to really understand the current state of the region. We found an unbelievable level of passion and energy for Milwaukee and for this mission. Now, we need to marry the grassroots enthusiasm with support from the top. We already have the support of some of the influential small / medium tech company CEOs, and now we're now engaging directly with some of the large corporate CEOs in our community. This movement needs to be led by the job creators in the region, and some of the more influential players are getting involved.
  3. We're not going to be the next Silicon Valley.
    We want to create a tech hub that's authentic to Milwaukee. Nobody wants to take on the kind of difficulties Silicon Valley has had to face, such as rising housing costs, increased traffic and deteriorating infrastructure—those issues can end up creating great divides in communities. Instead, we’re building our version of a tech hub in a way that will lift the city and help us overcome some of the economic and social challenges that currently exist.
  4. Although momentum is building for establishing Milwaukee as a tech hub, the reality is we're still pretty early in the process. That makes it all the more exciting for people who want to join the movement and help us make it happen. Join us!