CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Jul 21, 2011) - The technology talent gap isn't getting any better across the nation or in Illinois. Unemployment in the technology field is around 4%, less than half of the national unemployment rate, per Dice.com. An additional 150,000 new technology jobs are forecasted by the end of 2011, per Moody's Analytics. And the gap in Illinois is limiting the economic recovery of the region.
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) created the ITA Fall Challenge to educate students at some of the world-class universities in the region on the robust and growing technology companies that call Illinois home. The 2011 ITA Fall Challenge Presented by GrubHub will visit a total of 10 universities, inviting students to take a test, with the top students invited to the Final Challenge. Finalists from all universities will compete for the top prize, $5,000, and will be introduced to the local technology community, including the opportunity to interview with sponsoring companies.
"There is amazing tech talent in every city. It's just a matter of finding them and retaining them," said Mike Evans, COO GrubHub. "The ITA Fall Challenge really showcases the talent that we have right here in Illinois. We were able to recruit some team members through the 2010 program, so we're excited to see what the 2011 challenge has in store."
The 2010 ITA Fall Challenge saw hundreds of students from local universities, resulting in a total of 47 finalists, and placing 23 students in positions with companies including GrubHub, Allscripts, Model Metrics, BigMachines, Pointbridge, and others.
"The need to attract and retain top talent is necessary to fuel the growth potential of the local technology community," said Fred Hoch, President, ITA. "Illinois universities are well known, nationwide, for developing great technology talent, but many leave the Midwest to pursue opportunities on the coasts, unaware of the amazing companies in their backyard. We are here to change that."
The 2011 ITA Fall Challenge is supported through a partnership with the Illinois Innovation Council to support their mission of developing innovative methods to create jobs and spur economic development in the region.
"Illinois companies including Groupon, Grubhub, and many other ITA sponsors show that our state can be a top destination for entrepreneurship and innovation," said Illinois Governor Quinn. "Connecting innovative new businesses with the hard-working, talented and creative people across Illinois is a key to driving further growth in our innovation economy."
ITA thanks our 2011 sponsors of Fall Challenge, including Presenting Sponsor, GrubHub; Supporting Sponsors Allscripts, Backstop Solutions, Centro, Groupon, Model Metrics,SmartSignal, and SPR Companies; Participating Sponsors Authentify, Cleversafe, Corptax,Forte Knowledge, MBX Systems, and Pointbridge.
The ITA will complement efforts with students with a new program focused on filling the gaps across functional areas with experienced individuals. The ITA All Stars program will work with university alumni groups, creating a one-stop shop for sponsoring companies to fill open positions in their commercial functions. 2011 is the inaugural year for All Stars, created in response to the needs of member companies. Technology, Sales, Marketing, and Operations positions will be the focus of the 2011 program, working with over 20 university alumni groups.
To find out more about ITA programs and benefits, including Fall Challenge and All Stars, visitwww.illinoistech.org.
The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is a driving force behind the growth of Illinois' vibrant technology ecosystem. We are relentless in championing the development and application of technology, from start-up companies to industry leaders, leveraging the transformative nature of technology to revolutionize industries. ITA uniquely capitalizes on peer-to-peer collaboration, networking, and access to experts across the breadth of business to cultivate the Illinois technology industry. The unique and powerful integration of these valuable and experienced resources differentiates the ITA as a source of accelerated growth for the technology industry of Illinois. For more information about ITA, please visitwww.illinoistech.org.
© Illinois Science and Technology Coalition
Illustration by Dieter Braun