Chicago’s largest CIO network gathers for TechBash 2012

October 5, 2012—Chicago, IL— On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Chicago’s largest CIO network will gather for TechBash 2012. With over 400 people expected to attend, including sponsors, employers, and clients, this event is the largest fundraiser for i.c.stars, a workforce development program and a social enterprise that finds talent, trains talent, and puts talent to work. Not to mention, Chicago’s IT and business community view TechBash as “the best networking event of the season.”

Since 1999, i.c.stars has been developing change-driven individuals to excel in technology careers and effect change as community leaders. With over 300 graduates, the program has woven itself into the fabric of Chicago’s IT community by providing just-in-time, project-based learning for inner city adults. And with plans for national expansion—starting in Denver and Detroit—the organization hopes this year’s event will be the most successful TechBash ever.

i.c.stars co-founder and president, Sandee Kastrul, likes to tell the story of how it all began. She was teaching math and science and got a visit from one of her former students. “So tell me,” she said upon seeing him. “How are you using your science? What’s your truth?” Sandee didn’t expect the answer she got back. “I work in cleaning services for one of the hotels downtown, but I’m teaching. You wouldn’t believe what people don’t know about the basic properties of ammonia.” Sandee looked crushed. Her student noticed and continued. “Sandee, I don’t think you’re listening to me. You taught us that leadership is making opportunities for others. That’s what I’m doing, even in this role. I’m teaching.” Having learned something from her student that day, Sandee went home determined to re-write the future for other young people like her former student.

But i.c.stars isn’t just about making opportunities for inner city adults; it’s about changing perceptions among IT and business leaders. Whether by participating in High Tea, a job shadow day, or a mock interview workshop, leaders in the i.c.stars network often remark that the interns “ask better questions than my management team,” and their teams find value in an i.c.stars partnership, taking greater pride in their work, collaborating on multidisciplinary teams, and learning more about their own organizations.

The city’s largest CIO network has much to celebrate at TechBash this year. It is a torchbearer in a movement that develops exceptional entry-level tech talent and makes opportunities for current and future IT and business leaders. And with many companies pledging to bring 2,000 jobs to Chicago, together that network and i.c.stars can “put talent to work.”

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