What We do
At i.c.stars we provide a rigorous technology-based workforce development and leadership training program for low-income adults, developing Chicagoland’s most promising information technology talent with leadership goals and connecting them with career opportunities through our social enterprise and our partner organizations.
Our social mission is central to our work. Our primary goal as a social enterprise is to further our mission, and the profits earned through our business model support our training program. Working with low-income young adults, providing them with employment opportunities and preparing them for community-based advocacy allows us to achieve our social purpose.
We Find Talent
i.c.stars is highly selective. Out of four hundred candidates for every class, 20 are selected, following a finalist candidate interview process. We look for individuals who have overcome serious adversity and have developed the highest levels of resilience, a passion for technology, problem-solving aptitude, and motivation to help others.
i.c.stars attracts candidates through a variety of partnerships and outreach programs with job training organizations, various community job fairs and news media. In addition to strong resiliency skills, we seek individuals who have a profound sense of purpose and an unwavering ambition to succeed.
Learn more about our selection process.
We Train Talent
Using project-based learning, participants work in teams on a range of projects during this intensive training course and two year practicum. There are 300 learning objectives over the length of three projects. Interns work with a corporate project partner – companies like The PrivateBank, TTX and Kraft – over three months during which they respond to a mock business challenge and build an app or game according to the client’s specifications. The last month focuses on intensified career readiness training, resume coaching and job shadowing. Each student earns as much as 1,000 hours of hands-on practical business experience and social media expertise.
Ongoing training is provided to our graduates over the 20-month residency, where they receive ongoing professional development, placement assistance, networking and support services as needed. They may also receive merit based employment through i.c.stars social enterprise.
Learn more about our curriculum.
We Put Talent To Work
Our intensive workforce and community leadership development program brings together cutting-edge technology and innovative minds to serve your most important business needs through our job placement services.
We provide cost-effective innovative technology-based talent trained through our two-year specialized training program. We also partner with leading service providers who leverage the skills of our graduates to deliver cutting edge technology tools.
In addition to these direct services, we also connect companies with our graduates for full time employment. Graduates have secured positions at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Allstate, Grainger, Hewitt Associates, Accenture, Siemens, Northern Trust, Microsoft, PepsiCo, CNA, Exelon, and Loyola University Chicago.
Why We do It
For more than a decade, i.c.stars has seen the world as an intersection of two powerfully aligned aspirations—success and impact.
Some young adults already have what it takes to excel in technology careers and to play leadership roles in their communities. How do we know this? We discovered that the qualities that lead to excellence in technology services are closely linked to those associated with community leadership—namely, solutions orientation, resilience, collaboration, commitment, empathy, reciprocity, and accountability. Through our recruitment and selection methods and our field-based curriculum, we generate unparalleled results for both young adults and employers.
“By training a talent pool that is driven to succeed both inside and outside the workplace, we are helping our graduates serve their employers, their communities, and themselves.”
We recruit talent in communities to which employers have limited access, and train them using curricular methods that have been refined over decades of experience. Through i.c. stars, employers mitigate their risk of entry level hires and young adults gain opportunities they would never have on their own.
The value chain is simple and direct. And by participating, everyone wins: young adults gain opportunity, employers gain access to talent, and our communities gain the solid ground from which to prosper and grow.
“Our point of view is shared by the unique individuals we select and train and proves its value every day in our communities and with the employers who benefit from our success.”