Learn how the i.c.stars program works and how to apply.



i.c.stars offers a unique two-year program that provides an opportunity for low-income adults to develop advanced technical and leadership skills.

Our alums earn more money, continue to increase expertise in information technology-based platforms and join a supportive network that provides the resources necessary to help make the changes they seek in their own lives and in their community.



The program begins with a 16-week project-based internship at i.c.stars’ learning studio, and continues with  a 20-month residency program combining professional development, mentoring and continuing access to wrap around support.

With more than 300 learning objectives and 1,000 hours of hands-on practical business experience, interns gain expertise in both ‘hard skills’ and ‘soft skills’, and experience working with industry partners.

The projects incorporate a leadership focus and lectures designed to build emotional intelligence and a reflective awareness of social contexts. Participants develop three primary competencies—gift giving and receiving, communication, and meta-cognition—that will enable them to be more effective in serving their communities, clients and employers.

The basics

  • Two year program begins with an intensive, 16-week paid internship,
  • Project-based learning builds leadership skills and emotional intelligence
  • 24 prior learning credit hours with a higher education institution partner
  • Core technical skills training in Javascript, HTML, CSS, C#, and SQL


The growing network of i.c.stars alumni is a powerful group of community leaders that advocate for social justice in our communities. Our graduates have moved into leadership roles, launched for profit and social enterprises, adapted communications for diverse audiences using social media tools, developed a knowledge of programming and database development, built financial models, and regularly act as agents of change through public speaking engagements.

I feel as though the biggest impact i.c.stars has made was giving me the opportunity to build a network with so many executives  from the local Milwaukee area and the opportunity to build an app with a team.

James Thao, Milwaukee Cycle 1 Resident

Being a team player is one of the top skills I gained from i.c.stars that has helped me here [at AON]…i.c.stars helped me find my people.

Dionne Woods, Technology Apprentice, AON


i.c.stars receives up to 200 candidates for every internship training cycle and accepts 20 participants, making the selection process one of our toughest challenges.

The application begins with an information session

You may apply any time, but your application will be considered once you attend an information session, held regularly our offices. Applicants take part in an extensive, multi-hour assessment involving screening interviews and problem-solving skills.

Our selection process is designed to help us understand candidates’ ability to overcome adversity, curiosity and interest in technology,  tenacity and their potential for leadership.


  • GED recipient or High School graduate
  • 6 months (780 hours) prior full-time work experience
  • This is a needs based program, so you must qualify according to our income guidelines
  • Availability from 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Monday–Friday for four consecutive months
  • Ability to uphold and honor an “On Time, No Absences” policy
  • Ability to commute daily to i.c.stars office
  • Motivated to drive social change



If you are interested in signing up for an orientation to learn more about the i.c.stars training program, apply now!



Chicago High Tea Sign-up2020-01-21T13:38:42-06:00

Milwaukee High Tea Sign-up2020-01-21T13:38:31-06:00

Am I required to get involved with my community during and after my training period with i.c.stars?2019-11-05T10:57:16-06:00

Yes. it is an investment in the future, in all of our futures.

What are the hours and days of the week for the internship and what happens after the four months?2019-11-19T12:36:17-06:00

i.c.stars internship training is daily from 8am to 8pm for 16 weeks. You are eligible for 24 prior learning credit hours from Indiana Wesleyan University for the work over these 16 weeks. After, as part of a 20-month residency, i.c.stars will support you in your job search, provide access to volunteer and networking opportunities, and wrap around services.

Will I be learning from industry leaders during my training?2019-11-01T12:55:29-05:00

Yes! In addition to daily high tea—a lecture series with C-level executives—each project is facilitated by industry professionals including, fortune 500 IT departments, Venture Capitalists, and non-profit leaders. The training is also enhanced by professional coaches who volunteer their time across technology, leadership and business through one on one and group sessions. In addition, our faculty has years of experience in education, corporate IT and community development.

Will I automatically continue with the i.c.stars social enterprise after the initial internship program?2019-11-01T12:55:14-05:00

The i.c.stars social enterprise is a merit based opportunity dependent on your accomplishments during the internship training program.

Why is it important to learn leadership skills to get an IT job?2019-11-19T12:43:09-06:00

We believe that leadership is about making opportunities for others. Our organization is focused on both leadership and IT training so to prepare alumni to make an impact in both their businesses and their communities. The leadership training strengthens the employment and career advancement opportunities and also benefits our communities. Employers are constantly seeking to find and develop leadership skills in their employees—this more than anything else differentiates i.c.stars from degree-holding competition in the job market.

Where do I start?2019-11-01T12:54:46-05:00

Sign up for an orientation session here to learn more about the program and begin the application process.

Will I get paid?2019-11-19T12:39:05-06:00

Yes. During the 4-month internship, you will be paid a weekly stipend.

Our graduates move on to lead successful and fulfilling lives, sometimes receiving as much as 400 percent more in annual income than before joining the i.c.stars program. As a result of joining i.c.stars, you become a part of a growing network of powerful leaders who fight for social justice in our communities. Increased income, advanced technology skills, and a strong network of industry professionals provides our graduates with the opportunities and support needed to make the changes they want in their life and in the community.

What will I do?2019-11-01T12:53:43-05:00

Participants work on a variety of projects with a team of people. The i.c.stars curriculum includes:

Participants work in teams to build a technology solution in response to a business challenge; they work alongside a client organization, gaining mentoring and opportunities to demonstrate their skills to potential employers. The winning team from each cohort has the opportunity to present their prototype at an i.c.stars thought leadership conference in front of hundreds of tech executives. Using agile methodology, the four months is divided into Three Sprints – requirements gathering, wireframing, technology build – with a Career Readiness month. Throughout, participants grow their leadership, business communication and teamwork, cross-cultural communication and empathy skills. They also grow their professional network and social capital through daily High Teas, conferences and workshops.

How long does the program take?2019-11-19T12:45:48-06:00

The program takes up to two years. The first 16-weeks is an immersive bootcamp, and requires you to be on-site at i.c.stars’ learning studio from 8am to 8 pm. Afterward, the program takes the form of ongoing support, tailored to you individual needs. Usually, graduates are working within three months of completing the 16-week bootcamp.

What is the i.c.stars internship?2019-11-01T12:53:04-05:00

The i.c.stars internship is a rigorous 4 month employment skills and leadership training program for low-income adults. It’s the first step in the 2 year i.c.stars program. For a complete overview of  the program click here.