In the spring of 2000, a young man walked into the Inner-City Computer Stars office in Chicago, determined to join this nonprofit’s digital skills training program and build a

future for himself in technology. But first he had to prove that he was ready for that journey.

“He was 17 or 18 years old when he applied,” recalls Sandee Kastrul, the CEO and a founder of i.c.stars. Kastrul says she asked him to “go and build a website and come back.”

So he did. “And this was back in the day, 20 years ago, so he had all these floppy disks with his code on it to show us what he had built. It was pretty incredible, and we said, ‘All

right, we’ve got to have this kid joining the cohort.’”