Mayor Lightfoot and Kennedy-King College announce Tech Launchpad
As part of Chicago’s efforts to match thriving local tech companies with top-notch and diverse talent, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined leaders in education, technology and human development. -working and announced new and expanded programs to help close the equity gap in the tech industry, including the creation of a new Tech Launchpad at Kennedy-King College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago.
Housed in Kennedy-King College’s new tech lab, the Tech Launchpad will offer both credited and uncredited college programs developed in partnership with leading local and global tech companies. At the event bringing together leaders from the local tech economy, World Business Chicago announced that City Colleges will be the new anchor partner of its ThinkChicago program designed to attract and retain STEM talent in Chicago. The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership will assist eligible Launchpad participants by covering training costs and reaching out to employers looking to build a much needed talent pool.
“We provide a range of resources to connect employers with motivated Chicagoans to fuel a growing and inclusive tech economy,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “City Colleges’ investment in the Kennedy-King Tech Launchpad makes technology education accessible and affordable for all Chicagoans. Combined with contributions from our city and county workforce partners, we are building equitable pathways of entry into lucrative tech careers. “
The Tech Launchpad and related city and county efforts are driven by two imperatives: social equity and labor equity. According to an environmental scan conducted by Northern Illinois University, 23% of residents living in neighborhoods surrounding Kennedy-King College do not have access to a computer and 14% with a computer do not have access to the Internet. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018) reveals an under-representation of women, blacks, and Latinx professionals working in the information technology industry. For example, among American software developers, only 3.9% are black, 5.3% are Latinx, and 19% are female.
The Tech Launchpad is a clear part of a regional workforce strategy for the future and a key part of the City of Chicago’s “Forward Together” plan, the first of any major Covid-19 recovery effort. American city.
“We thank the many partners who have come together to create a strong pool of technological talent in Chicago,” said Chancellor Juan Salgado. “The Tech Launchpad will serve as a cornerstone in efforts to prepare Chicagoans in all neighborhoods for high-demand tech careers.”
“The Launchpad offers a young person growing up on the South Side who enjoys video games the chance to learn how to design these games and it offers parents concerned about the safety of their children online to pursue their own career in cybersecurity. , close to home and inexpensively, ”said President Gregory Thomas. “Our knowledgeable faculty and support staff, combined with the industry knowledge of our corporate IT partners, will help ensure Kennedy-King becomes the educational home for tech enthusiasts and tech enthusiasts.”
Kennedy-King College is now an approved training academy for Fortinet, Amazon, and Cisco, and partners with companies such as Google, Apple, Cisco, and SDI Presence for personalized trainings and tech boot camps.
New and upcoming credit programs include: AAS Cybersecurity Diploma and Certificates (launching Fall 2021), AAS Game Design Diploma (launching Fall 2021), Software Development (launching in Fall 2021), an AAS Diploma in Web Development and Certificates (launching Fall 2022), and an AAS Diploma in Networking Systems and Certificates (launching Fall 2022). Classes can be offered face-to-face and remotely.
SDI Presence donated $ 1 million to Kennedy-King College to support the Tech LaunchPad and its efforts to increase equity in technology, and provided more than 20 City Colleges students workplace learning experiences in the field of technology.
“We are also committed to addressing inequalities in the tech industry and are a global partner of City Colleges in preparing Chicago students for tech careers,” said David Gupta, Founder and CEO of SDI Presence.
World Business Chicago, the city’s public-private economic development agency, has named City Colleges as the newest anchor partner of ThinkChicago, Chicago’s STEM talent retention and attraction effort, joining from other anchor partners: City of Chicago and the University of Illinois system. ThinkChicago will continue to develop its entire portfolio of student immersion events and create a new program dedicated to City Colleges students to explore career opportunities within the thriving technology and innovation ecosystem. from the city.
“There is incredible momentum underfoot in Chicago in many sectors and industries, especially technology, innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Michael Fassnacht, President and CEO of World Business and Director of marketing, City of Chicago. “Chicago’s status as a premier global city continues to increase. Today’s news that City Colleges is joining our ThinkChicago program as a new anchor ensures that CCC students have access to promising career opportunities with local businesses and startups thriving here in our city. .
Kennedy-King College has created an easy-to-use online form for those interested in enrolling in this program and employers looking to access this skilled workforce, which can be found at http: // techlaunchpad .ccc.edu /.
The Partnership, a long-time partner of the City Colleges of Chicago, offers federally funded tuition vouchers (Individual Learning Accounts) to students seeking professional education and credentials in a variety of industries. Job seekers and employers can contact the Partnership by sending “techworks” to 474747 for more information on the Tech Launchpad, training opportunities, and the Partnership’s network of agencies and delegated services.
“The partnership specializes in advancing career path opportunities for the high growth and high demand sectors of this region, including information technology,” said Karin M. Norington-Reaves, CEO of Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. “We partner with a variety of small and large employers with IT needs and ensure they have access to a strong, diverse pipeline of talent. This new Tech Launchpad, and its focus on expanding equity in this sector of the workforce, is a significant addition to the IT training opportunities in Chicago and aligns perfectly with our efforts. We are proud to support this work.
The Tech Launchpad centers around a new computer training lab on the Kennedy-King College campus in Englewood. The 1,500 square foot, $ 840,000 training lab includes 20 advanced graphics computers, modular workstations for independent and small group collaboration, network server racks for instruction, and space for game development .
To remove financial barriers for students, Kennedy-King College will offer the Tech Launchpad scholarship in addition to the Statesmen and Star scholarships, as well as debt relief to qualified returning students under the Fresh Start Debt Remission Program . A number of programs have been offered completely free with a generous grant.
For more information on Tech Launchpad, visit http://techlaunchpad.ccc.edu/. Registrations are underway for the fall courses.