March 6, 2023 (CHICAGO) —Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), part of the University of Illinois System, and Hope Chicago announced a new multigenerational partnership today that will create a new pathway to lucrative tech careers for thousands of Chicago Public Schools students and their parents.
“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for,” says Dr. Janice Jackson, CEO of Hope Chicago. “Two generations within one family simultaneously advancing their education with a degree or professional certificate. I’m excited about the ways that students and their parents will be able to support each other on the journey to success. Finishing college, a trade, or a work program is no small task—we believe parents and children working together for the benefit of each other will be the difference that spells their joint success.”
Hope Chicago funds postsecondary scholarships and non-tuition costs for Chicago Public Schools graduates and adult family members eager to return to school and update their skills. This month, DPI’s Pritzker Tech Talent Labs will begin offering its full-stack software development apprenticeship program to the parents and guardians of all Hope Chicago scholars.
“We look forward to working with Hope Chicago to build the pipeline of talented tech workers,” said DPI Executive Director Bill Jackson. “Together, we are helping underserved and under-employed Chicago families change their career paths to a better economic future.”
Launched last year, the DPI apprenticeship program offers participants a paid training opportunity, as well as on-the-job support once employed. Participants undergo pre-apprenticeship training and then commence three months of in-classroom training, followed by with nine months of on-the-job training at a local tech company. Participants are compensated for the duration of the program and have the possibility of job placement upon successful completion of the program.
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. Computing also represents the top source of new wages in the economy. But while demand for tech talent outpaces supply, members of underrepresented groups do not equally participate in the tech sector. Black and Latino workers make up just 12% of Chicago’s tech workforce overall, and in 2020, only 14% of computer and data science graduates statewide were Black or Latino.
“The University of Illinois System is proud to partner with Hope Chicago to support these families as they, with their children, work toward a more prosperous future for themselves and their communities,” U of I System President Tim Killeen said. “We look forward to enrolling our first cohort of Hope Parent Scholars in DPI’s apprenticeship program so that they can begin a cycle of learning and opportunity that benefits their children, grandchildren and generations to come.”
Earlier this year, Hope Chicago awarded scholarships to more than 4,000 CPS students — and their parents — in an effort to reduce financial barriers to post-secondary education. Hope Scholars can use their fully funded scholarships at one of Hope Chicago’s 20 partner colleges, universities, or other educational programs across the State of Illinois.