What We Do

At i.c.stars we provide a rigorous technology-based workforce development and leadership training program for low-income adults, developing Chicagoland’s most promising information technology talent with leadership goals and connecting them with career opportunities through our social enterprise and our partner organizations.

Our social mission is central to our work. Our primary goal as a social enterprise is to further our mission, and the profits earned through our business model support our training program. Working with low-income young adults, providing them with employment opportunities and preparing them for community-based advocacy allows us to achieve our social purpose.

We Find Talent

i.c.stars is highly selective. Out of four hundred candidates for every class, 20 are selected, following a finalist candidate interview process. We look for individuals who have overcome serious adversity and have developed the highest levels of resilience, a passion for technology, problem-solving aptitude, and motivation to help others.

i.c.stars attracts candidates through a variety of partnerships and outreach programs with job training organizations, various community job fairs and news media. In addition to strong resiliency skills, we seek individuals who have a profound sense of purpose and an unwavering ambition to succeed.

Learn more about our selection process.

We Train Talent

Using project-based learning, participants work in teams on a range of projects during this intensive training course and two year practicum. There are 300 learning objectives over the length of three projects. Interns work with a corporate project partner - companies like The PrivateBank, TTX and Kraft - over three months during which they respond to a mock business challenge and build an app or game according to the client’s specifications. The last month focuses on intensified career readiness training, resume coaching and job shadowing. Each student earns as much as 1,000 hours of hands-on practical business experience and social media expertise.

Ongoing training is provided to our graduates over the 20-month residency, where they receive ongoing professional development, placement assistance, networking and support services as needed. They may also receive merit based employment through i.c.stars social enterprise.  

Learn more about our curriculum.

We Put Talent to Work

Our intensive workforce and community leadership development program brings together cutting-edge technology and innovative minds to serve your most important business needs through our job placement services.

We provide cost-effective innovative technology-based talent trained through our two-year specialized training program. We also partner with leading service providers who leverage the skills of our graduates to deliver cutting edge technology tools.

In addition to these direct services, we also connect companies with our graduates for full time employment. Graduates have secured positions at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Allstate, Grainger, Hewitt Associates, Accenture, Siemens, Northern Trust, Microsoft, PepsiCo, CNA, Exelon, and Loyola University Chicago.

A Measurable Impact

Initial placement rate:
90%
Industry retention rate:
81%
College attendance rate:
55%
Alumni actively engaged in their communities:
72%
Average 12-month earnings before program:
$10,790
Average 12-month earnings after program:
$44,010