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2nd annual event will be held Saturday, December 10th at Illinois Tech’s McCormick Tribune Campus Center to motivate and inspire students to study Computer Science in Illinois.

December 10, 2022 (CHICAGO) —The Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), part of the University of Illinois System, will welcome Chicago-area public high school students and their families to the 2nd Annual Illinois Computer Science Opportunity Fair on Saturday, December 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s McCormick Tribune Campus Center located at 3201 S. State Street.

The event is being held in partnership with Illinois Tech, University of Illinois Chicago CHANCE Program, College of Engineering and Engineering Career Center, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Grainger College of Engineering and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Wilbur Wright College – City Colleges of Chicago’s Center of Excellence for Engineering and Computer Science, Harold Washington College, Kennedy King College, and Chicago State University. The schools will provide more information about their computer science programs of study and how this field can lead to dynamic and high-paying job opportunities in Chicago.

Other partners include: AWS, Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program, Code Nation, Code Your Dreams, Everyone Can Code, Future Founders, Illinois Science & Technology Coalition, i.c. stars, the National Society of Black Engineers – Chicago Professionals, One Summer Chicago, and TECH CORPS, which all will share information about their computing and tech-focused programming designed for Chicago-area youth.

The event will feature a keynote talk from AWS about the various applications of CS in Chicago’s dynamic tech industry, college-fair style interactions with each participating university and organization, networking, and a panel discussion among current students, recent alumni, and leaders in Chicago’s tech community.

“Computing is the language of business, necessary for solving problems and innovating across every sector of our economy,” said Mark Harris, director of the Pritzker Tech Talent Labs’ Community Education unit at DPI. “We want to inspire more Chicago-area high school students to pursue this field and connect them to some of our top CS programs in the state. We look forward to growing this event every year to further our mission to make Chicago’s tech workforce the most inclusive in the nation.”

“It is an honor to host the CS Fair at Illinois Tech, it is a pleasure to be working together to help students find fulfillment and prosperity through 21st century careers that allow them to shape the future and build the intersection between the digital and physical worlds,” said April Welch, associate vice president, strategic initiatives at Illinois Tech.

Computing-related jobs make up roughly half of all STEM jobs in Illinois — three times more than any other STEM field. Computing also represents the top source of new wages in the economy. The COVID-19 crisis has illuminated the need for and resiliency of these jobs.

Black and Latinx workers make up just 12% of Chicago’s tech workforce overall. In 2020, only 14% of computer and data science graduates statewide were Black or Latinx.

Register for the event at Space is limited.

The Illinois CS Opportunity Fair is an annual event that will bring in additional universities and partners to provide college and career inspiration for public high school students to study computer science in Illinois.

This program builds on existing efforts from DPI and its partners to cultivate a more diverse, homegrown computing pathway, including DPI and UIC CHANCE’s Digital Scholars summer program and the Discover Computing program.