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Black CS Success Summit

Overview

The "Black CS Success Summit" is a transformative event designed to empower Black computer science college students and high school students in Chicago. This dynamic 2-day summit offers a wealth of opportunities, from career speed dating that exposes attendees to diverse tech roles beyond software engineering, to insights into entrepreneurship, local business engagement, and the Chicago startup scene. Workshops on open source contributions, resume strengthening, interview preparation, and networking essentials provide valuable skills, while a thrilling hackathon puts their design thinking and teamwork to the test. High school participants also benefit from the programming but they also get to interact with college  students which is a rare opportunity unless you have a family member in college. This summit will be a powerful platform for building  connections, gaining skills and propelling careers in computer science.

Who can Apply?

To be eligible to apply, applicants must either...

a)  Be an undergrad or graduate  student attending a higher education institution in Chicagoland majoring or minoring in computer science

b) Be an undergrad or graduate student attending a higher education institution in Chicagoland considering changing their major or minor to computer science

c) Be  of college age and contemplating the beginning of your journey toward a career in the computer science field.

d) Be a High School Student based in Chicagoland

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Summit Details

Coming This September!
Location: Google Chicago
 

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Our Mission

Increase the retention of Black Computer Science talent in Chicago by creating a community amongst Black computer science majors in the Chicagoland area and exposing them to opportunities and networks within the city.

Our Goals

Empower students to foster community on their campuses.

Create a community to connect Black CS students across the Chicagoland area.

Encourage high school students to consider majoring in computer science

Increase the amount of Black CS students that stay within the Chicagoland area 
after graduation

Create a pipeline for recruiters to reach black computer science (cs) students so they can get access and exposure to scholarships..

Make CS students aware of the plethora of career paths they can take outside of software engineering

Why This Summit?

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Chicago's Inequity In Tech?

The future success of a city hinges upon its ability to nurture, attract, and retain highly skilled talent that can drive technology-focused enterprises. For Chicago to firmly establish itself as a leading US city in the years to come, it is essential to strengthen the tech workforce while reflecting the diversity of the city's population. Currently, the demand for tech expertise in Chicago and Illinois exceeds the available supply, a trend that persists unless comprehensive actions are taken. Unfortunately, access to premium tech opportunities is distributed unevenly, with Black and Latinx Chicagoans representing only 14% of the local tech workforce despite comprising two-thirds of the city's residents. Addressing this imbalance requires enhanced workforce initiatives targeting young individuals & those lacking affluence or established networks. This discrepancy is further highlighted by the fact that less than 4% of Computer Science bachelor's degrees awarded by Illinois colleges (excluding for-profit institutions) go to Black students, and less than 12% to Hispanic students, even though these groups constitute more than 30% of Illinois' population. Illinois forfeits the potential contributions of around 600 Black and Latinx computing graduates each year due to these imbalances. 

Recruiters Roadblocks In 
Contacting
Black Students

Recruiters often face challenges when it comes to efficiently engaging and promoting programs tailored for the Black demographic at Predominantly White Institutions. This becomes particularly apparent in cases where there isn't an active chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) or comparable organizations on campus. Unfortunately, the existence of such organizations is not always a given. Additionally, even when NSBE chapters are established, they might lack a notable presence of computer science majors due to the common practice of separating colleges within universities.

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Computer Science Students Post-Grad Struggles?

The unemployment rate for computer science graduates is nearly double the national average for all fields of study. A factor contributing to this is the lack of awareness among CS majors regarding the diverse career opportunities available through their degrees. Many students are primarily familiar with software engineering roles, which can limit their job search and hinder them from finding careers that best match their talents and interests. Raising awareness about the wide array of opportunities can empower CS majors to explore and pursue paths that align with their skills, ultimately improving their job prospects.

Participating Institutions

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