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i.c.stars Announces Leadership Transition: Co-Founder & CEO Sandee Kastrul to Take on New Role

2024-02-06T13:55:58-06:00December 19th, 2023|Chicago, Kansas City, Milwaukee, National|

CHICAGO – Today, award-winning technology and leadership workforce nonprofit, i.c.stars, announced that its Co-Founder and CEO Sandee Kastrul is transitioning to a new role as the Chief Innovation Officer for the nonprofit’s Innovation lab.

I.c.stars co-Founder Sandee Kastrul Inducted Into the Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame

2023-07-31T09:51:47-05:00July 31st, 2023|Chicago, National|

Chicago, July 31, 2023— i.c.stars announced today that CEO Sandee Kastrul will be inducted into the Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame at the In-Gala on August 3rd. Ms. Kastrul was one of four distinguished leaders in innovation who were honored for their accomplishments in Chicago’s innovation community.

Ms. Kastrul, i.c.stars founder and former teacher, brings a personal awareness of the range of problems and barriers faced by marginalized communities. Her continued relationships in underresourced neighborhoods help assure that program goals remain relevant and impactful. “Diversity is the ultimate driver of innovation” said Kastrul. “Through technology training, community leadership, and wraparound support, we prepare young adults for the jobs and opportunities of the future.  We help employers see the value in non-traditional talent pipelines—value to their bottom line and our society. It’s a win-win approach that helps build Chicago’s innovation community.”

“The Chicago Innovation Hall of Fame […]

From i.c.stars to Cloud Developer to Creating An Award-Winning Employee Resource Group

2022-02-08T12:05:47-06:00February 8th, 2022|National|

Jeremy worked at a factory for five years before i.c.stars, making just a dollar over minimum wage at the time of his departure. “I looked at my boss– the manager and a nice guy—he had worked there for 26 years doing the same thing all that time. I thought, wow, there’s no career ladder here, no better future. I knew I had to do something, but school would have been tough to do while working.”

Always interested in technology, Jeremy saw an article in the newspaper ‘RedEye’ about a technology networking event called: ‘OpenGov Hack Night’.  He attended, met people in the field and was introduced to i.c.stars. “There was no cost for training, and we got a stipend. While the stipend wasn’t much, through an upcoming income tax return and some savings, it was possible for me to make this change. I was accepted into i.c.stars and joined Cycle […]

i.c.stars Graduate Michael on Corporate Culture and Growth

2021-12-08T00:21:15-06:00December 8th, 2021|National|

I found out about i.c.stars from my girlfriend—she’s my fiancé now. I liked their non-conventional approach, self-teaching, problem solving and learning by doing. It was right for me. They teach you how to find answers and that’s a skill that doesn’t go out of date. One of the things that impress me was the ability to network with truly influential people. This was a constant around i.c.stars and we were encouraged to make the most of their time. They opened my eyes to the endless opportunities that we had, options that I didn’t know even existed. They gave clarity and perspective to what we were doing and pointed out the best ways to accomplish goals. They helped us find the same leadership in ourselves. I learned how to help others, to see their point of view and lift them up. That’s helped me see the customer’s point of view […]

‘Fairness and Justice also Move my Spirit’ – i.c.stars Graduate Sherronda

2021-11-19T13:01:03-06:00November 19th, 2021|National|

Before i.c.stars I was working and volunteering at my son’s school. Money was tight but I was getting by, then Covid hit and everything shut down. I had to find something but didn’t know what was out there.

I first learned about i.c.stars from a friend of mine. She’d graduated from the program and told me it was great, life-changing, even. I thought, hum I wonder if this is something I could do? My son was taking a coding class for middle school and that was very interesting for me. I was always good at solving puzzles. I loved puzzles and I could see where the code was off, even if I didn’t know coding. In my house, I was called Ms. Electronics because I could fix anything, set up the internet or TV. So I was interviewed for the i.c.stars program and I was excited right […]

i.c.stars president participates in Accelerate Chicago with Microsoft, the Mayor and other partners

2021-11-09T12:53:35-06:00November 9th, 2021|Uncategorized|

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Microsoft Corp., in collaboration with corporate, learning and community partners, today announced the launch of Accelerate Chicago. The program aims to reach 300,000 Chicago residents to provide a pathway from skilling to employment for community members to bridge the digital skills divide and route people to diverse and equitable hiring and re-employment opportunities. Job seekers in Chicago can start their journey toward their career reinvigoration today, with programs, events, and opportunities available now at microsoft.com/accelerateskills

“As Chicago builds its economy back in the wake of COVID-19,” said Deb Cupp, President of Microsoft U.S. “the Accelerate program expands economic opportunity and provides the skills needed to support an inclusive, equitable recovery. We’re proud to work with our civic, learning, and corporate partners to bring this program to Chicago.”

“Especially given the socioeconomic fallout of this crisis, we have been laser-focused on identifying […]

i.c.stars Op-Ed in Crains: Colleges alone can’t fill the skilled worker needs

2021-09-29T14:58:47-05:00September 29th, 2021|National|

i.c.stars authored an Op-Ed in Crains: 

A recent Crain’s Equity story on the lack of diversity in the tech field pointed out several issues that have kept minority participation low. A lack of strong STEM programs in high schools with predominantly minority enrollment, the tribal nature of hiring or the limited recruiting pool are just a few issues that were mentioned.

We agree with everything in the story, but we’d like to add a sense of urgency to the comments made, a call to arms over this issue. Because in our world today, in almost anything you do, there’s an IT professional backing you up in some way, keeping the process working. In fact, it is hard to think of anything today that is not dependent on the work of IT professionals. It’s a crisis that we can’t afford to ignore.

A degree in computer science […]

Fiserv : Minority-Owned Small Businesses in Chicago Can Now Apply for Back2Business Grants from Fiserv

2021-03-02T13:58:25-06:00February 16th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Approximately $1 million in grants available to businesses based in the city of Chicago or Cook County

BROOKFIELD, Wis., February 16, 2021 – Fiserv, Inc. (NASDAQ: FISV), a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, today

announced it is accepting grant applications from minority-owned small businesses based in the city of Chicago or Cook County as part of its ongoing

Back2Business program. The program is designed to help support minority-owned businesses that have been negatively impacted by the ongoing COVID-19

pandemic.

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