Blog

James Hischke

Senior Director – Tech Advancement and Outreach

Stronger Together: Partnering to Grow Tech in Milwaukee

Topics: Tech Advancement.

Taking a long-term view toward success and a focus on the community are nothing new or different for our company. For more than 160 years, this organization has been setting the bar for what it means to be a responsible corporate citizen. At Northwestern Mutual, how we view technology and the tech ecosystem in Milwaukee is no different.

Though traditionally known for manufacturing, tech is fueling the economy in southeastern Wisconsin. According to a 2018 report, tech represents one quarter (approximately $27.6 billion) of the total regional economic output. With more than 76,000 tech workers and an anticipated additional 31,000 technology-related job openings by 2023, Northwestern Mutual saw the need and an opportunity to actively support the growth of the tech talent pool for Milwaukee. By listening to the community and acting as a catalyst within the local ecosystem, we could grow and diversify the digital tech talent pool for Milwaukee – as well as our share of it.

In 2017, we developed a strategic plan and launched the MKE Tech Hub movement to pursue critical initiatives in partnership with various other community stakeholders, many of whom were actively committed to similar outcomes. Since then, the region has committed investments of more than $400 million to advance Milwaukee as a tech hub. In October 2019, the MKE Tech Hub Coalition was formed, starting with six founding members and growing ever since. Today, more than 20 Coalition members actively contribute financially and provide their time and talents to achieve the primary goal of doubling the tech workforce in southeastern Wisconsin by 2025.

It’s not just about the work, but our culture, too, which is why we support and partner with organizations that help elevate the perception of our region as one where top tech talent wants to live, work, play and stay. Most recently, we’ve partnered with GalaxE.Solutions and their Outsource to America program. The nationwide initiative focuses on workforce and community development, cultivating jobs, training and creating economic opportunities that target populations underrepresented in tech – which aligns with many of our own goals. Through public-private partnerships, GalaxE is focused on expanding the number of U.S.-based tech hubs by bringing outsourced jobs back to the United States, offering workforce resilience at a price point competitive with offshore services. Outsource to Milwaukee will allow us to build a more inclusive economy, advancing and creating new job opportunities.

GalaxE recognized Milwaukee as an ideal city for expanding the initiative for many of the same reasons I chose to plant roots and raise my family here. Milwaukee has that small-town feel with big-city benefits. With 24 higher education institutions, eight Fortune 500 company headquarters and more than 40 Fortune 500 companies with major operations, Milwaukee can punch above its weight class in both higher education and professional opportunities. Mix that with sports – both professional and Division 1 college teams – top-notch cultural and outdoor recreational options and a diverse makeup of both ethnicity and race… there’s nowhere else I’d rather raise my family.

The Milwaukee Tech Hub movement is fueling impressive growth – and the momentum continues to increase. From startups to well-established companies, there are so many opportunities to build a technology career in Milwaukee. With collaborative partnerships like Outsource to Milwaukee, I believe we can define a new Milwaukee identity – one that is more than just traditional manufacturing, beer and cheese. Join the Milwaukee Tech Hub movement today!


If you are a business or executive and would like to learn more about Outsource to America™, visit GalaxE’s website. GalaxE is also hiring for a variety of levels – from those just entering the job market and individuals in need of training to experienced IT professionals. All of this means tremendous opportunities for our community and our region.

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