The last time America’s economy fell off a cliff, jobs in computing and mathematics barely took a hit. The industry lost just 1% of its employment in 2009 and fully regained momentum the following year, when jobs in the sector surpassed 2008 levels.
This is why Illinois tech leaders and universities are investing into training for in-demand tech jobs: They’ll never go away.
“I had no idea how great the tech industry in Chicago was until we had all of these talks with people in the tech ecosystem. I realized the tech industry aligned with my interests in the environment, and now I’m more interested in exploring the computer science side of civil engineering.”
In December 2020, The Pritzker Foundation announced it is giving $10 million over the next five years to The Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) to support and develop promising and more diverse tech talent in Illinois.
The funding will establish the Pritzker Tech Talent Labs at DPI, which will help Illinois workers better adapt to a challenging and quickly changing economy, and help thousands of women and people of color secure high-paying tech jobs.
With this funding support, DPI has named Omowale Casselle to be the inaugural Pritzker Director of Tech Talent Labs. Casselle joins DPI with a deep background in engineering and technology entrepreneurship.By 2029, the goal is for the Pritzker Tech Talent Labs to help 7,000 people annually secure jobs, including more than 3,000 women, Blacks or Hispanics.
The Pritzker Foundation is led by Tom Pritzker, Nick Pritzker, Gigi Pritzker Pucker, and Penny Pritzker.
In just two years, the City Scholars program has brought 200 of the best computer science and computer engineering students in Urbana-Champaign up to Chicago for a semester of courses and internships at companies.
Big companies like BP, Caterpillar and JPMorgan Chase. And emerging tech companies like Quicket Solutions and Xaptum.