Illinois Proclaims April “Information Technology” Month; Event Success!

Governor Bruce Rauner proclaimed April 2017 as Information Technology Month throughout Illinois and to celebrate, several successful events were hosted to support the IT industry.  CompTIA is proud to have been a part of several of these events and allowed a wide ranging audience to better understand information technology community and everyone it reaches. Check out a recap on the events below!

April 5 – Legislative Breakfast
CompTIA hosted a breakfast for state legislators to demonstrate the need for STEM curriculum in schools. CompTIA members were able to present on their initiatives to drive STEM success in the classroom. Legislators were engaged and understood the need to engage students with this curriculum at an early age as studies show that early engagement increases the likelihood of students sticking with this area of study through to college.

April 12 – Innovative Internship Student Showcase
Seven students from City Colleges of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools’ ECSS participated in a showcase of their work as IT interns. For two hours the students were in the atrium of the Thompson Center with their laptops, demonstrating the type of work they had done during their internship experiences and spoke to the program. Additionally, partners from Microsoft and IBM visited the event and spoke on behalf of their engagement with the Early College STEM School program. A representative from Accenture made an appearance to discuss their successful partnership with the students of City Colleges of Chicago.

April 14 - Professional Development workshop for Computer/Network Support Teachers
A professional development workshop was hosted at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills.  This half-day workshop included tips and tricks for teaching those subjects, as well as prepping for the A+ certification exam.  Several teachers attended from various high schools and community colleges, including those in Chicago, Hinsdale, Park Ridge and University Park.

April 19 – Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) Fieldtrip
Twenty-six students from Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep Academy in Chicago visited the state DoIT facility for a tour and meet-and-greet with state CIO, Hardik Bhatt and other key staff. Students and staff discussed the future of technology, its importance at the state government level and key initiatives the department is planning. 

April 20 – Raspberry Pi Workshop at College of DuPage
Utilizing funding from the DEI Grant, the College of DuPage hosted five youth with disabilities who participated in a Raspberry Pi Workshop on campus.  Participants learned about the Raspberry Pi and followed instructions to create a “Quick Reaction Game” using guidance from dual credit facilitators form the Technology Center of DuPage (TCD).  The event was a success.

April 21 – Wilbur Wright College IT Club Field Trip to CompTIA
Twelve students from the Wilbur Wright IT Club visited CompTIA headquarters where they listened to a presentation about Tech, Tech Skills and changes over time. Additionally, students heard about Virtual Reality and Training Simulation and were allowed to demo their Virtual Reality hardware. Finally, a panel of staff from the IT department closed the day by discussing their roles, experience in IT and answered questions.

April 29 – Second Annual Raspberry Pi “Build IT!” Challenge
Building on the success from our 2016 competition for high school student teams, we more than doubled the size of this competitive event. Twenty-three student teams came from all over the state to compete.   Teams were challenged to create an application using the Raspberry Pi and were reviewed by 27 different judges representing government, industry and university professionals, including Julio Rodriguez, IL DCEO Deputy Director of Employment and Training, John Rico, founder and CEO of Rico Enterprises and Kara Kennedy, Executive Director of Lumity. The event was held at Illinois Institute of Technology on the near south side of Chicago.  Prizes were awarded to three teams, based on placement:

  1. Normal Community High School Raspberry Guys – won a week-long summer STEM camp of their choice for each team member with an app to sense the water level in a sump pump and communicate to email and/text in the case of potential overflow
  2. Glenbrook South Society of Women Engineers – won a one-day summer STEM camp of their choice for each team member, with their “Pi dance floor”
  3. Normal Community High School Home Innovators team each received an Amazon Fire tablet; their app used a remote control car with a co2 sensor and a camera that could be sent into a burning building to locate bodies and see if it’s safe to go in without an oxygen tank

April 29 – STEMCON
Creating IT Futures hosted a booth at STEMCON at the College of DuPage.  The goal of the day was to engage youth with hands on activities focused on STEM.  The CITF team showcased an inside out computer with an open-faced running hard drive, giving youth a visual to the 7200 RPMs a hard drive takes as it is working to save and find your data.  CITF also displayed a variety of computer components highlighting the history of IT hardware from the 1980’s to today.  These components were arranged in a way that youth would be able to pick them up, and ask questions about what they did and how they worked with other parts of the computer.  Our table provided a way for youth to visualize what old computer systems looked like and how they have increased capacity and speed while shrinking in size as technology has change. Throughout the day, staff spoke with youth ages 3 through college age, as well as many parents.  Charles Eaton’s How to Launch Your Teen’s Career: A Parent’s Guide to the T in Stem Education was a highlight of the table.  Creating IT Futures also had the pleasure of speaking with over 300 youth and parents about careers in IT, the need for youth to engage in activities as early as possible and the variety of open positions our field needs to fill in the next 20 years.  It was exciting to see so many youth expressing a great interest in the field and hearing all of the wonderful programs their schools and local communities are hosting to continue to engage youth in IT.