Home Announcement Illinois Illinois Reboot: Application for Free Tech Skills Training Now Open

Illinois Reboot: Application for Free Tech Skills Training Now Open

Program Hosted by University of Illinois Research Park and Powered by American Family Insurance

Applications are now being accepted for a unique tech training program that aims to build a more inclusive tech workforce in Central Illinois.

Illinois Reboot is a free, live virtual course created and presented by the University of Illinois Research Park and powered with sponsorship support by American Family Insurance. It will provide participants with a foundation in data science literacy, along with coaching and mentoring from Champaign-Urbana area tech professionals.

“This program will help those seeking to pivot in their career path and enter the Central Illinois tech economy, which may lead to high-paying, stable careers in data science,” said Laura Frerichs, executive director, University of Illinois Research Park. “We hope to reach a wide audience and open the door to a more diverse, inclusive tech workforce.”

The 9-week program teaches participants about coding languages and programs, specifically UNIX, GitHub, SQL and Python. It also connects them with career counseling, and will network them with Central Illinois employers looking for qualified applicants for tech roles.

The program is open to residents of Central Illinois, including Champaign, Vermilion, Piatt, Macon, Ford, Douglas, Sangamon, Tazewell, McLean, Peoria, DeWitt, Woodford and other adjacent counties. Individuals from groups that are underrepresented in the tech sector, including (but not limited to) women, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, African Americans, and those with disabilities, are highly encouraged to apply. 

A pilot version of Illinois Reboot took place over the summer with 40 participants.

One of those who successfully completed the program was Emilio Ruiz of Champaign. A philosophy major in college, Ruiz said he had “messed around with Javascript and HTML in my basement as a hobby”.

Completing the course provided him clarity about what area of the tech industry he wants to learn more about, and put him on a new career trajectory.

“This program allowed me to understand more about the different coding languages and to focus on cybersecurity as a future career”, Ruiz said.

The program is free thanks to grant funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration via the CARES Act. Additional resources from American Family Insurance will allow Illinois Reboot to fund five scholarships for students to pursue more training after successful completion of the course.

The second cohort is seeking applicants to start in February 2021; applications are due by Jan. 13, for full consideration. The launch of new cohorts will continue through mid-2022. 

More information is available at ILLINOIS REBOOT: A Coding Pre-Academy – Research Park.

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