Northwestern Mutual funding scholarships so local workers can earn tech ‘nanodegrees’

Northwestern Mutual Tower & Commons. Credit: Jon Elliott of MKE Drones LLC
Northwestern Mutual Tower & Commons. Credit: Jon Elliott of MKE Drones LLC

As organizations throughout the state continue to work toward bringing more tech workers to our region, Northwestern Mutual has announced plans to fund the education of a cohort of Milwaukeeans so they can enter the tech workforce.

Through a partnership with the Blacks In Technology (BIT) Foundation, an Ohio-based nonprofit seeking to increase the representation of Black workers in the tech industry, Northwestern Mutual is funding 20 Udacity nanodegree scholarships for Milwaukee residents. Udacity is an Emeryville, California-based online platform that teaches participants the tech skills most in demand by some of the largest tech companies in the world including Microsoft and Amazon.

Udacity’s nanodegrees provide enrolled participants with practitioner-level skills required to successfully transition to a career in technology through 80 to 120 hours of coursework, comprised of up to five classes.

“We know that the best digital solutions are built by teams with a strong culture, diverse perspectives and deep technical skills,” said James Hischke, vice president, technology workforce programs at Northwestern Mutual. “Our partnership with the Blacks In Technology Foundation and Udacity delivers a unique opportunity to build the future of Milwaukee’s technology ecosystem and ensure all people have the opportunity to thrive in a technology career.”

Northwestern Mutual’s funding will support 20 nanodegree scholarships for courses that offer industry curriculum, career readiness training, and mentorship opportunities, continuing to build the talent pipeline and fill the nearly 90,000 open technology industry jobs available in the Milwaukee area.

A recent report from the organization TechNet shows that out of all states, Wisconsin ranked 46th in net tech employment jobs added in 2020. The state is also expected to experience a 10% increase in tech job postings between 2020 and 2030.

“Hirings must grow by at least 16.7% in order to maintain current tech employment levels,” according to the report.

In addition to funding scholarships for Udacity’s nanodegrees, Northwestern Mutual also partners with organizations across southeastern Wisconsin to ensure Milwaukee students have access to STEM programs to educate the next generation of the technology workforce.

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Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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