The concept for i.c. stars came about in 1998 from Sandee Kastrul and Leslie Beller. Sandee had seen one of her most talented students from her teaching years working for minimum wage as a housekeeper in a Chicago hotel. Her chance encounter made her wonder what she could do to make sure underprivileged workers could meet their fullest potential.
With the rise of the dotcoms and related jobs, information technology was selected as the focus for training. In addition, the resiliency and critical thinking skills from overcoming adversity was also a good match for the IT industry. The founders spent 18 months researching technology training programs across the United States, and in 2000, i.c. stars trained its first set of information technology students over a rigorous 12-week program that included business leadership and career readiness skills and job shadowing opportunities.
For the first eight years, i.c.stars was housed in the space of Chicago digital marketing firm CloserLook, which provided critical support during the early years. An early and ongoing partnership with the Society for Information Management (SIM) helped i.c.stars develop relationships with enterprise CIOs from Fortune 500 companies.
Without our supporters and sponsors, i.c.stars would not be where it is today. Joining the i.c.stars network increases your business value. Sponsors benefit from leadership and staff development opportunities, and connections across the i.c.stars network. Your involvement also helps shape the future IT workforce.