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Student Programs

Our Community Education Unit is building a suite of programs to guide historically underrepresented students into CS and tech-related fields.

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. Sign up for our newsletter below.

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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.