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May 12, 2014

Public-private partnership to train women, minorities for technology jobs

CHICAGO—State officials today announced the start of a program to train women and minorities for jobs in high-demand technology fields. Called Creating IL Talent, the program will offer hands-on training in web and mobile app development and will make its graduates ready for immediate employment.

Creating IL Talent represents an innovative partnership between the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), software developer GeneXus USA, YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago and innovation hub Blue 1647. Students will be trained using GeneXus software, will attend career readiness workshops and receive job placement assistance.

“Our technology companies have become an Illinois economic leader and a source of new and exciting ideas,” said Governor Pat Quinn. “The state is happy to support a program that encourages diversity in this growing job source.”

The program’s pilot course began Saturday, May 10 and is designed for women aged 18 and over who wish to begin or advance a career in web and mobile applications. Subsequent classes are planned for minorities of either gender. Applicants should be at least 18, have a high school diploma or the equivalent and an interest in software development.

“Developing digital diversity is crucial to ensuring that Chicago communities thrive,” said Dorri McWhorter, chief executive officer of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago. “The YWCA is proud to be a partner in the launch of this very important program.”      

Creating IL Talent is free to students. Participating organizations are donating their services and DCEO is providing $10,000 to cover marketing costs. Graduates will receive a free one-year Professional GeneXus License, valued at $4,500.

Enrollment is handled by the YWCA. Classes and workshops will be held at Blue 1647, 1647 S. Blue Island Ave. in Chicago.

“The technology sector desperately needs diversity,” said Veronica Buitron, chief technology officer and co-owner of GeneXus USA. “So we’re creating a more diverse talent pool by providing equal access to technical tools and training.”

The program consists of 52 hours of hands-on technical education, 18 hours of optional career-readiness support and a two-hour final exam. Technical education sessions will take place Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“Chicago is full of talent that is just waiting to be nourished and cultivated,” said Emile Cambry Jr., chief excecutive officer of Blue 1647. “We are excited to play such a pivotal role in developing digital innovators and entrepreneurs with Creating IL Talent.”

Interested participants or supporters should contact Laticia Dezell at Laticia.dezell@ywcachicago.org or 312-762-2745, or visit www.creatingILtalent.com.


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