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Student Programming Initiative

Essential to this work is ensuring that Chicago’s tech workforce is more inclusive and representative of our State’s overall population.

We know that this will require a systemic approach to talent development, with significant coordination across education providers and employers, and sustained multi-year investments. Today, we have many great programs and initiatives across Illinois and Chicago, but not a system that can deliver the scale and quality that is necessary.

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The Problem:

  • Chicago’s tech workforce is roughly 12% Black or LatinX and far too few of our graduates of computer science, computer engineering, and data science degrees come from these populations.
  • In 2020, the U of I System’s computer science, computer engineering and information sciences programs graduated 2,764 students. Just 7.6% were Black or Latinx.
  • These disparities are driven by Access: Students need CS course offerings and instruction by qualified CS teachers; Inclusion: Students lack a sense of belonging or identity in tech community; and Clarity: Students struggle to navigate CS/tech pathway.

Our Intervention:

  • DPI’s programs are intentional about changing this so we more than double the current 12% representation of Black and Latinx individuals in the Chicago tech workforce.
  • Ultimately, our goal is to increase the throughput of Black, Latinx, female, and other minoritized populations into computer science, data science, and related fields of study at Illinois institutions – advancing into DPI’s Pritzker Tech Talent Labs programs and thriving in Chicago’s tech ecosystem.