CHICAGO – JUNE 12, 2020 – i.c.stars announced today its partnership with TechReady Illinois, an effort launched this week by P33 and Discovery Partners to help Illinois residents hurt by COVID-19 gain new digital skills.

More than one million Illinoisans filed for unemployment in the first nine weeks of the COVID-19 crisis, more than five times the same period of the Great Recession. The pandemic has further exacerbated the health and economic disparities among residents of underserved communities.

“For TechReady to advance inclusive tech growth, and to deliver tech-career opportunity to those who have historically been underrepresented in the digital economy like our Black and Latinx residents, we need partners who have a history and expertise working with these populations successfully,” said P33 Senior Vice President of Workforce Innovation Matthew Muench. “i.c.stars is a Chicago gem that does this as well as anybody in the country. We are thrilled to count them as a partner, and hope to find ways to grow the partnership we launched this week.”

Courses will be offered in one of four tracks: data and analytics; cloud computing; cybersecurity; or software development, with opportunities to obtain a certificate upon completion.

“For 20 years, i.c.stars has been helping Chicago’s underserved young people access careers in technology. It’s what we do, said i.c.stars President and Co-Founder Sandee Kastrul. “Being part of TechReady Illinois allows us to reach more folks, and not only provide skills training for high-growth tech roles, but mentorship, wrap around support and social capital.” 

Other participating institutions include the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois System, the Illinois Institute of Technology and City Colleges of Chicago.

In order to serve a broad set of Illinoisans, TechReady Illinois offers programs valuable to both experienced technologists looking to sharpen their skills and novices interested in pivoting to a tech career for the first time. The TechReady Illinois team will be intentional about reaching underserved individuals to increase access to these learning opportunities.

For more information on TechReady Illinois, please visit

About i.c.stars
Formed in 1999, Inner-City Computer Stars Foundation (i.c.stars) i.c.stars is a national technology workforce training and placement program that prepares young adults for technology careers and community leadership. Using project-based learning and full-immersion teaching, i.c.stars has trained more than 600 individuals and places 90 percent of qualified graduates in jobs. Participants see their annual earnings increase by an average of 300 percent as a result of the program. i.c.stars also works to change employer perceptions and practices around nontraditional talent, and has engaged more than 10,000 employers since inception. In 2018, i.c.stars opened in Milwaukee. More at

About DPI
The Discovery Partners Institute empowers people to jumpstart their tech careers or companies in Chicago. Led by the University of Illinois System in partnership with top research universities, it does two things: tech talent development and applied R&D. DPI prepares students and workers to step into high-demand tech jobs. It also builds research teams and matches them with new funding. With state investment and a new innovation district in development, DPI has the resources to attract, develop and leverage the most ambitious people and companies the region has to offer — and keep them here.

About P33
P33 is a privately funded non-profit focused on driving inclusive, global tech and innovation leadership for Chicagoland. P33’s work is anchored in deep research and driven by a need to unlock the potential of the digital age to solve some of the toughest problems facing Chicago, such as equitable access to digital careers, talent retention, deep science commercialization and gaps in our growth stage startup ecosystem. Officially launched in 2019, P33 is co-chaired by Penny Pritzker, former Secretary of Commerce and founder and chairman of PSP Partners; Chris Gladwin, CEO and Co-founder of Ocient and Cleversafe; and Kelly Welsh, President of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago.