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i.c.stars Brings Its Tech Skills Training to Kansas City, With Grants From William G. McGowan Fund and Will to Succeed Foundation

Chicago, August 22, 2018—A program that helps underserved young adults get into high-tech careers is expanding into Kansas City through grants from the William G. McGowan Charitable Fund and the Will to Succeed Foundation. i.c.stars, a national workforce development nonprofit that runs the program, announced the grants today.

The program’s first phase is a feasibility study that includes a survey of employers’ needs for entry-level tech talent in Kansas City. It will also identify the social and economic barriers these young adults face in entering the tech field. The results will inform how i.c.stars can best address the needs of Kansas City.

Since 1999 i.c. stars has trained young adults, whose salaries upon graduation increase by 300 percent in roles such as software developer, QA engineer, or business analyst. The program focuses on in-demand coding skills—Javascript, Python, and others—combined with client project work, leadership development, career readiness and professional network building. Founded in Chicago, the organization has also expanded to Milwaukee, Wis., and Columbus, Ohio.

“We are delighted to support i.c.stars in the expansion of their programming to help promising young adults in Kansas City,” said Diana Spencer, executive director of the McGowan Fund. “We need to nurture young people’s talent and interest in tech careers, and i.c.stars has a remarkable history of putting their interns on a sustainable path to economic security and community leadership.”

The McGowan Fund has been working in the Chicago area for the past 25 years and with i.c.stars since 2008. Besides Chicago, it funds education initiatives, human services, and medical research in Kansas City, Mo.; Denver; Rochester and Yates County, N.Y.; and Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, Pa.

The McGowan Fund’s grant encouraged additional support from the Will to Succeed Foundation.

Will Shields, former Kansas City Chiefs player, member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and co-founder of the Will to Succeed Foundation, along with his wife Senia, has been the community champion with the vision to help bring i.c.stars to Kansas City.

The Will to Succeed Foundation seeks to guide and inspire, empower and improve the lives of those less fortunate by providing financial, educational and other everyday resources to those identified as most in need.

“Changing the lives of underserved young adults starts with the development of the mindset that unleashes the potential within them,” said Shields. “This is the gift that i.c.stars will provide our future tech stars as it prepares and connects them to become a part of the city’s expanding economic engine.”

As part of this grant, the McGowan Fund will continue its support for i.c.stars’ work in Chicago’s Austin and North Lawndale neighborhoods.

“Support from the McGowan Fund and the Will to Succeed Foundation, both of whom have been invested in Kansas City for many years, says to the local community, we believe in this organization,” said i.c.stars’ President and Co-founder Sandee Kastrul. “There is nothing more important than this partnership.”

About i.c.stars
Formed in 1999, Inner-City Computer Stars Foundation (i.c.stars) is a national technology workforce training and placement program that prepares young adults for technology careers and community leadership. Using project-based learning and full-immersion teaching, i.c.stars has trained more than 400 individuals and places 90 percent of qualified graduates in jobs. Participants see their annual earnings increase by an average of 300 percent as a result of the program. In 2016, i.c.stars opened an affiliate in Columbus, Ohio, and in 2018, i.c.stars opened in Milwaukee. More at www.icstars.org.

Media Contact: Elizabeth Ferruelo, i.c.stars, 312-487-2208