Hall of Famer Will Shields Kicks off Launch of i.c.stars Kansas City at Pre-Draft event April 26
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i.c.stars Kansas City
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Hall of Famer Will Shields kicks off launch of i.c.stars Kansas City at Pre-Draft event April 26
For Will Shields, NFL Pro Football Hall of Famer (Class of 2015), empowering young people to succeed is part of his DNA. Today, Shields is putting both his mind and muscle behind a new initiative in Kansas City – i.c.stars*, a non-profit organization focused on lifting up young people and helping them succeed in the high-tech sector. (*i.c. stands for “inner-city computer”.)
On Wednesday, April 26, i.c.stars will go in the “first round” as Shields and others kick-off i.c.stars Kansas City at an invitation-only luncheon with area business and community leaders at Husch Blackwell LLP, 4801 W. Main St. Media is invited to attend the 11:30 a.m. event to learn more about this i.c.stars and what it will be doing in Kansas City.
Too often, talented students graduate from high school only to end up with dead-end, minimum-wage jobs. i.c.stars is changing this through its tech-based, educational, and career development program offering disadvantaged, low-income young adults a solid foundation of technical skills and leadership training. i.c.stars identifies non-traditional talent, trains them for higher-paying, technology-based jobs, and mentors them for success. Working with low-income
young adults, providing them with employment opportunities and preparing them for community-based advocacy allows i.c.stars to achieve its social purpose.
Shields, who serves on the advisory board for i.c.stars Kansas City, is excited about the program’s formal launch in the metropolitan area. “We strive to guide, inspire, empower, and improve lives by shaping the next generation of tech leaders right here in Kansas City,” Shields said.
Started in Chicago in 1999, i.c.stars is also operational in Milwaukee and has met with success. i.c.stars reports an 86 percent training-related placement rate for its participants as well as an industry retention of 80 percent at the one-year employment mark. Kansas City is the newest location for the nonprofit organization. Shamika Hogan is executive director for i.c.stars Kansas City working closely with a 12-member advisory board of business, education and communal leaders that includes Shields.
Like its predecessors, i.c.stars Kansas City will work with underserved youth moving them from poverty and hopelessness to stable careers, in-demand jobs, and a livable wage. By training a new generation of technology professionals, i.c.stars works to increase diversity in the tech space and build a more resilient, inclusive society.
How the program works
Participants in the i.c.stars program participate in an intensive four-month boot camp that combines project-based learning with full-immersion teaching. They learn marketable technology skills in a hands-on setting as they learn coding and methodologies. During the final month of i.c.stars’ bootcamp, career readiness activities accelerate with mock interviews, resume reviews, and career coffees. Employers come on-site to interview i.c.stars participants for open positions. The program provides wraparound support, including trauma-informed counseling to participants. Case managers assist participants every step of the way, from access to stable housing to internet access assistance or help with cell phone bills. Participants also receive a stipend during the program, a laptop, higher education support, and career mentorship. i.c. stars Kansas City is seeking partners in this new endeavor including employers, funders, volunteers and students. Those interested in learning more about the program are invited to contact Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s my hope that Kansas Citians will answer the call supporting this new endeavor in our community making it a victory for all,” Shields said.
About i.c. stars
i.c. stars began in 1998 when Sandee Kastrul, a former teacher, saw one of her most talented students working for minimum wage as a hotel housekeeper. This chance encounter made her wonder what she could do to ensure underserved young people reached their fullest potential. She founded i.c.stars to give low-income young adults the skills and network they need to secure careers in the high-paying field of information technology and to change hiring practices
around nontraditional talent. Currently operating in Milwaukee and Chicago, for more on i.c. stars, watch our video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDKUI9SUqw8