TUE AM News: Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition report highlights growth; GOP leaders send bills to Evers

— The Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition’s latest annual report shows the group’s membership swelled to more than 110 last year. 

Coalition CEO Kathy Henrich highlighted the group’s updated priorities in an introductory message. These include attracting talent and businesses — with Henrich noting that acquisition is “faster than organic growth” — building a diverse talent pipeline to supply the region with skilled workers, and continuing to scale the “innovation ecosystem” at large. 

“As we look back in our efforts, 2021 will be considered a pivotal year in the Milwaukee Tech Hub Coalition’s and the region’s journey,” Henrich wrote in her message. “Base systems were created that will enable scale for the future. We look forward to the thrill of the acceleration!” 

The report shows the coalition saw nearly 200 percent growth in its membership last year as more businesses and other groups committed to the organization’s goals. Launched in October 2019, the coalition has set a broad goal of doubling the amount of available technology talent in the Milwaukee region. As it currently stands, the region currently has over 2,300 tech businesses and more than 80,000 tech employees, based on figures from CompTIA. 

The report highlights the impact of many different programs aligned with the coalition’s goals, including tech expos, internship and apprenticeship programs, coding competitions, tech startup incubators, pitch competitions and more. 

It also emphasizes the influence of the pandemic on how companies operate, noting many tech jobs are “no longer tied to location.” Report authors point out that workers had more freedom to “choose community first, job second” last year. 

“This presents a unique opportunity to sell tech workers on the high quality of life that Milwaukee affords,” they wrote. “And it requires us to work together to showcase the best of Milwaukee tech.” 

See the full report: 


— GOP legislative leaders have sent a dozen bills to Gov. Tony Evers, including one that would expand the hours that minors under the age of 16 can work.

Sending the bills to Evers begins the seven-day window for the guv to sign the legislation, veto the bills or allow them to become law without his signature.

Bills the Legislature approves during the spring floor period otherwise would automatically be sent to Evers April 14 following the conclusion of the last general business floor period March 8-10.

SB 332, which passed along party lines, would allow those under 16 to work as late as 9:30 p.m. on the night before a school day and 11 p.m. if they don’t have school the next day. Now, the cut-off is 7 p.m. between the day after Labor Day and May 31. It’s 9 p.m. otherwise.

See more at WisPolitics.com: https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/mon-pm-update-lasry-reports-loaning-his-campaign-more-than-1-5m-in-fourth-quarter-21/ 

— The state Office of the Commissioner of Insurance says the latest Healthcare.gov open enrollment period in Wisconsin had the highest total sign-ups since the enrollment period for 2018. 

Federal numbers show 212,209 Wisconsinites signed up for health insurance on Healthcare.gov during the latest open enrollment period from Nov. 1, 2021, to Jan. 15, 2022. While that exceeded the totals for the three prior years, it fell short of the 225,435 enrollments seen in the open enrollment period for 2018, which ran from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2017. 

Meanwhile, the number of Wisconsin consumers using the state’s enrollment information site, WisCovered.com, decreased over the year. The OCI release notes over 8,000 state residents visited the site during the open enrollment period for 2022, which is down from the over 10,000 site visitors in the previous year when it first launched. 

Commissioner Nathan Houdek attributes the higher enrollment numbers this year to funding for navigators provided by Gov. Tony Evers and the federal government. Evers provided $2 million in funding for Covering Wisconsin in 2021, OCI notes, while the Biden administration also funded more community nonprofit groups last year that provide navigator services. 

See the OCI release: https://oci.wi.gov/Pages/PressReleases/20220131OEResult.aspx 

— After a brief pause to free up capacity for inpatient hospital care, ThedaCare has announced it will be resuming “non-urgent” elective surgeries. 

The health system temporarily stopped performing these surgeries on Jan. 17 as the omicron surge of COVID-19 led to a “sharp rise” in the number of patients seeking care in the northeastern Wisconsin region. 

Now that patient admissions are on the decline and are expected to continue doing so, the health system says it can “safely manage” COVID-19 cases while also resuming elective surgeries. ThedaCare has implemented precautions like testing surgery patients for the virus, requiring masks and tightening visitor restrictions. 

“Resuming non-urgent, elective surgeries that were previously deferred is a positive step forward as we continue to care for a significant number of COVID-19 patients in our hospitals,” said Dr. Michael Hooker, ThedaCare’s vice president and chief medical officer for acute care. 

ThedaCare has hospitals in Appleton, New London, Waupaca, Wild Rose and Berlin. 

See the release: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/thedacare-to-resume-surgeries/ 

— ThedaCare President and CEO Dr. Imran Andrabi is expressing regret about former employees being impacted by the legal action taken against Ascension Wisconsin. 

The health system says it dismissed the legal action filed in Outagamie County Court on Friday, after a judge threw out a temporary injunction blocking its former employees from going to work for Ascension St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton. 

That order was initially granted after ThedaCare had asked the court for time to replace the workers who were leaving, arguing that care in the region would be impacted by all seven employees leaving at once. 

“We regret the seven team members who accepted positions outside of ThedaCare were impacted by this situation, and we have made efforts to ensure that the risk to them was minimized for the day between employment,” Andrabi said in a statement. “We know the work of interventional radiology and cardiovascular nurses and technologists saves lives, and we wish them well in their new roles.” 

Andrabi praises the ThedaCare workforce in his statement, thanking employees for their efforts in communities around the state. 

“It is through their work, expertise and compassion that we live our mission, and we are committed to listening and learning from this situation,” he said. 

See the full statement: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2022/thedacare-president-and-ceo-imran-a-andrabi-md-faafp-statement-on-dismissal-of-the-legal-action-against-ascension-wisconsin/ 

— The Sauk Prairie School District is purchasing new manufacturing equipment and offering a dedicated health careers classroom with grant funding through WEDC. 

A release from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. shows the district received an up to $2.4 million Workforce Innovation Grant, supporting its efforts to provide career pathways in advanced manufacturing, health care and agriculture. 

“These are all three areas where students can choose to go straight from high school and into the workforce,” said Sauk Prairie Schools Superintendent Jeff Wright. “But they also could choose to go on in advanced education.”

The funding is part of $59.5 million in total grant funding announced by Gov. Tony Evers late last year. A second round of funding will be announced later this year, WEDC says. Funding for the grants comes from the American Rescue Plan Act. 

State officials representing WEDC and the Department of Workforce Development held a roundtable discussion yesterday in the district’s Prairie du Sac offices, highlighting local employers partnering with schools. 

“Investing in training spaces and equipment to prepare workers for career opportunities with growing manufacturing, agribusiness and health care employers marks an important step forward in addressing the region’s skill gap,” DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek said in the release. 

See more on the grant funding: https://wedc.org/blog/credits-toward-careers/ 

— The total number of cattle and calves in Wisconsin increased by about 50,000 over the course of 2021, reaching 3.5 million. 

That’s according to a recent USDA report, which shows the number of milk cows increased by about 15,000 over the year to reach 1.28 million. At the same time, the number of beef cows increased by 5,000 to reach 295,000. 

And the number of calves decreased by about 1 percent over the year, reaching 1.4 million, the report shows. Meanwhile, the number of cattle and calves on feed for slaughter in all Wisconsin feedlots increased 8 percent over the year to reach 270,000. 

See the full report: https://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/WI-Cattle-01-22.pdf 

— WisPolitics.com, WisBusiness.com and the Wisconsin Technology Council are partnering to hold a virtual trade policy event next month on changing trade relations between the United States and China. 

The Feb. 17 event will feature Dem U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, a member of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee; Prof. Enrique Dussel Peters, from the National Autonomous University in Mexico; and Prof. Samantha Vortherms, a China expert at the University of California Irvine. 

Panelists will explore how far the U.S.-China decoupling will go, as well as related challenges and opportunities for the Midwest. They’ll also discuss potential impacts on relationships with other major trading partners such as Mexico. 

See more details and register here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfTXoJGZfTNvU9sRKhcY-WL9MGnUqw9m_EH3POZDi6Yaewdaw/viewform 

— The following week, a WisBusiness.com/WisPolitics.com luncheon in Appleton will focus on the future of farming, including the role of producers and policymakers. 

The Feb. 23 in-person event will be held at the Fox Valley Technical College’s DJ Bordini Center. A panel of ag experts moderated by veteran farm broadcaster Pam Jahnke will discuss efforts to improve sustainability, ranging from biodigesters for managing animal waste to land tilling and animal feeding techniques aimed at addressing impacts of climate change. 

Panelists include: DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski; Rep. Gary Tauchen, R-Bonduel, chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee; Jessica Niekrasz, president of Clean Fuel Partners and board chair for the Wisconsin Biomass Energy Coalition; and Steve Dvorak, president of DVO in Chilton and designer of a digester used at more than 100 sites in 18 states.

See event details, including how to register: http://www.wispolitics.com/2022/feb-23-wisbusiness-com-wispolitics-com-luncheon-seeking-a-sustainable-future-climate-change-and-farming/ 


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– Organic farming conference being planned in La Crosse



– Kazmierski elected chair of State Natural Resources Board



– City making successful Streatery program permanent


– Discourse founder talks Milwaukee plans, and La Dama’s Magister steps away: Quick Bites



– Wisconsin records lowest single-day new COVID-19 case total of 2022


– Hayat Pharmacy paying $2 million to settle false claims case


– Check this out: Wisconsinites borrowed 7.2M e-books and audiobooks last year



– Sens. Baldwin, Cassidy introduce Tracking Pathogens Act to prepare for future pandemics



– Briggs & Stratton cutting 34 corporate office jobs in addition to Germantown closure

– New tavern planned at former Point Burger Bar Express space in downtown Milwaukee

– A new hotel is proposed in fast-growing area near Lambeau Field



– Private equity firms want to buy Kohl’s. Analysts say it could spell disaster for the Wisconsin company


– CBD store purchases its Walker’s Point building


– This Madison designer wants to give the remodeling business a makeover



– Packers stock sale raises $63.6 million, so far, from all 50 states and Canada



– True Coffee Roasters blends old world techniques with new technology


– Milwaukee-based Fiveable merges with virtual studying platform Hours


<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

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