90 Early College STEM Schools Students in Chicago Gain Valuable Technology Internship Experience

Aug 13, 2015, 13:07 ET from Creating IT Futures Foundation

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Aug. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, 90 students across five Chicago Public Schools' Early College STEM Schools (ECSS) finish their paid, skills-based internships, gaining valuable business and career experience. Funded by a grant from the Chicago Workforce Funders Alliance, CompTIA and its philanthropic arm, the Creating IT Futures Foundation, connected 27 local employers with the students, vetting the students and employers and helping to structure the internships to give the best possible experience to both the students and employers.

"IT employers need to expand their workforce pipelines, and students need real-work experiences to help them navigate education and career paths," said Gretchen Koch, executive director of workforce strategies, Creating IT Futures. "Internships help bridge the connections between students and employers. Our research developed the 4Ps of successful internships and several internship models, showing ways in which any employer can offer valuable internships like the ones with the ECSS students."

Eighty-five percent of the internships were technology-focused, from website consulting and networking to programming and digital media production. Employers and sponsors included:

  • 1871
  • All Natural Chicago
  • BLUE 1647
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Breakwater Chicago
  • CDW
  • Chicago Public Schools
  • Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance 
  • Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Foundation
  • Chicago Youth Center
  • Cisco
  • Digital Professional Institute/Tribeca Flashpoint College
  • Diversity MBA Magazine
  • Early Bird 
  • Green Tech Summer Camp
  • Honorary Chicago
  • IBM 
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Literacy Chicago
  • Lumity 
  • Matter
  • Mercy Housing
  • Microsoft 
  • Motorola Solutions 
  • National Restaurant Association
  • Nectel 
  • Perfect Fit Post
  • PreTrip Master
  • Rico Enterprises
  • STEM Girl Network
  • TapGenes
  • Verizon
  • Victoria LCS

Chicago has five STEM schools (Chicago Vocational Career Academy, Corliss High School, Lake View High School, Michael Clark High School and Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy) that allow students to graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate's degree. Work-based learning and business partnerships, like summer internships, help students relate their education to current business needs.

The students in the internships were rising high school seniors who possess a combination of "tech-ready" and "work-ready" skills, and many also are taking college IT courses in one of ECSS' technology pathways: networking, computer science or web development. As such, they bring a high level of maturity and motivation to their internships.

Creating IT Futures is actively looking for more businesses to step forward for this school year to help with mentoring, corporate visits, classroom projects and speaking opportunities. Interested businesses can sign up at: http://goo.gl/forms/9Kfh9F1p5h.

A short video summarizing the ECSS internship experience is available at: https://youtu.be/FxmlhjPFDqY.

The Creating IT Futures Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Learn more at www.creatingITfutures.org

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SOURCE Creating IT Futures Foundation