May 2020 Tech Upload
New IT News
As we move into the month of May, it occurs to me that the trends in Mother Nature and in our Covid-19 impacted lives parallel one another rather closely. For Wisconsin gardeners, May means the last frost dates and ability to start planting outdoors. May also means it’s time to get out in the yard to explore which plants survived the winter, trim those that have become overgrown, spread fertilizer to encourage new growth, and determine which plants will need to be replaced. We also begin to emerge from our homes in greater numbers and with greater confidence of better weather, to check on friends and neighbors whom we may not have seen all winter. As we explore the new growth, we are reminded that life has continued despite the harsh winter conditions, and things have been happening even while hidden by a blanket of snow.
In our Covid-19 impacted lives, it is much the same, though it may be the wildlife checking in on us instead of our neighbors! May brings the promise of a reduction in the Safer-at-home rules, though much like an unwelcome late spring frost, we may experience some setbacks as we loosen the rules. As we emerge from our shelters and the region begins to recover there will be changes in our communities. Our favorite restaurant may not have made it through the challenge, our company may need to do some pruning in order to bloom later, or maybe during the time in shelter our company leaders were quietly busy reimagining strategy and we will experience new growth coming out of the crisis. One thing you can be certain of is that though it may feel like things have been at a standstill, things have been happening around the region.
What we’ve been up to
At the NEW IT Alliance we have been busy migrating our meetings and events to virtual platforms so we can help the region continue to move forward.
- On April 30 we relaunched our Quarterly Meetings with a discussion of how various organizations have handled the transition to remote operations and how they plan to move forward. We also had a very informative and timely presentation by Tim Foor from New Horizons on how to get the most out of Microsoft Teams. Our next Quarterly Meeting will be held on June 16 in conjunction with the Tech Talent Summit where we will present on the state of IT in Northeast Wisconsin.
- Launched NEW IT Professional Community Survey for companies to provide data on their IT operations and plans. This will help us understand at a detailed level what the state of IT is within companies within the region. We hope to learn answers to questions like which skills are in demand, how difficult it is to hire IT resources, and how upcoming retirements might affect the IT eco-system in Northeast Wisconsin. The survey is open until May 8 to any organization in Northeast Wisconsin regardless of size and industry.
- Launched Covid-19 Internship Impact survey to collect data on how college internships have been impacted by Covid-19. Any organization that offers internships is encouraged to fill out the survey by May 8.
- Launched Digital Learning Opportunities survey to collect data from K-12 about IT offerings in high schools across the region.
- Launched IT Reskilling Committee to look at what opportunities are available and could be created to support reskilling our workforce into IT. We will be holding the first meeting next week with representatives from higher ed, training, companies, and workforce development boards. If you are interested in participating, please contact Kim Iversen at [email protected]
- Will be launching a Covid-19 Regional Taskforce to understand the challenges faced and implement solutions region wide. If you are interested in participating, please contact Kim Iversen at [email protected].
- Participated in the Inspire Sheboygan Virtual Job Shadow series as one of two presenters talking to over 40 high schoolers about IT careers.
- Attended the New North Partners Zoom meetings
- Attended the WEDC and Regional Leadership Council’s Covid-19 CEO Leadership webinar series
- Conducted the NEW CS Advisory Board meeting with 12 school districts attending along with our local colleges and employers to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on schools as well as the importance of starting a local CS Advisory Board.
Coming up, the NEW IT Alliance is working on
- Planning of the TechTalent Summit on June 16, register here
- Planning of our NEW Connect IT event scheduled to be held in mid-November at Lambeau field. We are also working to develop a Plan B so we are ready to pivot if the needed.
- Developing a virtual version of our Collaborative Intern event designed to help interns connect with Northeast Wisconsin as a place to live and work following graduation.
- Developing internship alternatives with our local colleges
In true Northeast Wisconsin style, the NEW IT Alliance and many other organizations have been collaborating to help our communities survive and come out stronger than before.
Covid-19: Tales from our Students
Grace Vanden Heuvel – Hortonville High School
As a high school student, not only is COVID-19 putting a cramp in my social and extracurricular activities like marching band and robotics but it’s also affecting how I am learning. While some of my classes are easier than others, the change to a completely online base is making each of them challenging in their own ways. However, I am surprised at how well the switch from a traditional school setting to online schooling has gone across the board.
I think technology has been an unbelievably strong factor in this transition. Because all of my teachers are using tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Canvas, I’m able to continue my education, even if it wasn’t quite as planned. In addition, as right now it is extremely important to maintain human connection although separated, I have also been able to keep up with my friends and teachers through these tools.
Kaitlyn Alexander – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Things changed for me pretty quickly mid-March. I went from living in my apartment 5 minutes away from campus where I spent most of my days studying, working, and hanging out with friends to moving back home in a rush while finding out that the rest of the semester would be spent off campus. It was a quick turnaround and I wasn’t sure how online school would work for some of my classes. Two classes in particular, Digital Marketing Analytics with Kathy Fredrickson and Application of New and Emerging Media with Timothy Gleason, consisted of large semester projects with real business clients from the community. With being off campus, we could no longer provide some of the deliverables we had hoped, and working with group members online became increasingly difficult. Some had poor internet connection while others had busy work schedules that came from being essential workers. There were many difficulties adjusting for not only the college students, but also professors and campus staff. I was impressed by how understanding and sensitive our professors were to each student because of these circumstances.
This summer, I was planning on having a second internship at Catch-22 Creative in Milwaukee. My start date was going to be the Monday after the end of my spring semester, May 18th. However, with most businesses being shutdown or being forced to work from home, my start date is being pushed back. I may not start my internship until mid-June, if the employees of Catch-22 are able to get back into the office. I am grateful that my internship has not yet been cancelled, since most friends I know have gotten devastating news that they no longer had a summer internship lined up. Through technology, I’ve been able to stay in contact with people and finish (almost…one week left!) out the rest of my semester. It definitely will be one that we never forget.