In partnership with P33, DPI launched TechReady Illinois in June 2020 to help Illinois residents affected by COVID-19 gain new digital skills at steeply discounted tuition rates.

More than 1 million Illinoisans filed for unemployment in the first nine weeks of the COVID-19 crisis, which is more than five times the number of displaced workers during the same period of the Great Recession. 

To support unemployed, furloughed and underutilized Illinoisans compete for these jobs of the future, TechReady Illinois will provide training courses for the high-demand fields of computer science, data and engineering programs – at up to a 75 percent discount.

Courses will be offered in one of four tracks, with opportunities to obtain a certificate upon completion. These include:

  • Data and analytics
  • Cloud computing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Software development

Participating institutions include the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois System, the Illinois Institute of Technology and City Colleges of Chicago. To participate, residents will complete virtual courses, some conducted by faculty from participating academic institutions. Others will be run by partners, including Coursera and i.c.stars. Many of these courses will lead to industry-recognized certificates.

Computer and information technology are among the fastest growing careers in the United States with demand for these jobs expected to grow by 16% from 2018-2026. These jobs are also more resilient. During the last economic crisis, jobs in computing and mathematics lost just 1% of its employment in 2009 and fully regained momentum the following year, when jobs in the sector surpassed 2008 levels.

In order to serve a broad set of Illinoisans, TechReady Illinois offers programs valuable to both experienced technologists looking to sharpen their skills and novices interested in pivoting to a tech career for the first time.

Students also will receive coaching and exposure to experts in their field. Over the coming weeks and months, the teams at P33 and DPI will continue to work with Illinois employers and higher education institutions to build out the TechReady Illinois program with new certificates, coaching opportunities and benefits.

For more information on TechReady Illinois and to sign up for these programs, please visit TechReadyIllinois.com.

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