Digital Transformation Has Educators Rethinking Programming

According to a new study entitled ‘Milwaukee’s Tech Talent Impact’ released last month, tech dependent industries account for $27.6 billion, or roughly one quarter, of total regional economic output. The greatest growth is projected in occupations involving business analytics and intelligence and software development. Overall, there are approximately 31,000 estimated openings in the tech talent cluster within the next 5 years. These numbers do not account for the impact of new jobs created by the investment Foxconn is making in the region.

The education system is preparing students to meet projected demand. Within the last year, the Milwaukee School of Engineering announced the development of a computational science hall focused on developing talent to support artificial intelligence and other next generational technologies; the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee launched a disruptive technologies lab; Northwestern Mutual partnered with Marquette University and UWM to launch a data science institute; and Marquette developed a student-run blockchain lab.

The School District of New Berlin’s K-12 system is preparing students, as well. Many SDNB schools have already implemented digital learning initiatives to infuse technology into the way in which students are learning. Additionally, over the past 5 years, the SDNB has expanded computer science offerings, implemented a student run district-wide technology support program (TechKNOW), provided independent study options for students wishing to earn industry certifications, and embedded agile development methodologies into select programming courses.

The district has also developed an applied data science pathway in partnership with MSOE, launched an entrepreneurial skills accelerator called Advanced Innovation and Design in partnership with the UWM Entrepreneurship Center and the Commons and expanded technical internship opportunities with the support of industry partners. Most recently, the SDNB launched a student-run competitive intelligence program in partnership with Aurora WDC, and redesigned its manufacturing program to
include mechatronics and connected systems to support Industry 4.0.

“The district’s vision of a college and career ready graduate includes technological literacy. The programming we have put in place support that objective in alignment to what we are hearing from our post-secondary education and industry partners in the M7 region,” SDNB Superintendent Joe Garza said.

“Many schools in southeastern Wisconsin are moving in a similar direction but face real challenges. We are thankful regional leadership continues to address the barriers that are standing in the way of desired outcomes.”

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