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Fortune 200 Company will help provide custom training curriculum for tech professionals

May 22, 2022 (CHICAGO)—The Discovery Partners Institute’s (DPI) Pritzker Tech Talent Labs is launching its first apprenticeship program in partnership with global professional services leader Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH), a Fortune 200 company specializing in technology and consulting services for clients across a range of industries.

The program is aimed at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the technology industry.

The first cohort of 15 students began pre-apprenticeship training at City Colleges of Chicago in March and will conclude July 2. Program graduates will then begin three months of hybrid virtual and in-classroom training, coupled with nine months of on-the-job training with a mentor at Cognizant.

“We are proud to have attracted many women and people of color into this program, as they are typically underrepresented in the technology industry,” said Bill Jackson, DPI’s executive director. “Our mission is to make economic development more equitable by placing people in jobs that are resilient, such as software development.”

Cognizant is committed to advancing diversity in the technology industry and has introduced similar programs in North Carolina, resulting in local hires. To date, Cognizant has hired more than 2,000 associates through established train-and-hire programs throughout the country, including company apprenticeships. This is the first apprenticeship program for Cognizant in Chicago.

“Software developers, particularly those who can build the full stack, front- and back-end, are in high demand and have a vital role in today’s digital economy,” said Eric Westphal, Associate Vice President of Workforce Strategy and Operations at Cognizant. “This is one of many IT training and career path initiatives Cognizant has under way to invest in and upskill the diverse talent within the communities in which we operate. We’re thrilled to be partnering with DPI to bring this custom program to life in Chicago.”

The program is being supported with a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Expansion Fund. This award allows DPI to operate as an apprenticeship intermediary, connecting employers seeking to implement apprenticeship programs with job seekers.

About DPI
The Discovery Partners Institute empowers people to jumpstart their tech careers or companies in Chicago. Led by the University of Illinois System in partnership with top research universities, DPI does three things: Train people for high-demand tech jobs, conduct applied R&D, and business building. With state investment and a new innovation district in development, DPI has the resources to attract, develop, and leverage the most ambitious people and companies the region has to offer — and keep them here.

About Cognizant

Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH) engineers modern businesses. We help our clients modernize technology, reimagine processes and transform experiences so they can stay ahead in our fast-changing world. Together, we’re improving everyday life. See how at or @cognizant.