CSU Receives Funding to Improve Black & Latinx Communities’ Access to Technology & IT Careers

CHICAGO (February 2, 2023) - Chicago State University (CSU) is pleased to announce the award of $800,000 from the FY23 Omnibus Appropriations Bill to support the Initiative to Improve Access to Technology Careers for Black and Latinx Communities. This critical financial investment, secured by U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), will fund the redesign of CSU’s data science curriculum and increase access to the internet by improving and expanding computer facilities.

“Our state and our nation are stronger when we invest in our communities and families,” U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said. “I’m so proud I was able to help secure critical support for projects all across our state to help clean up our water, improve our state’s infrastructure, expand healthcare access, create jobs and tackle environmental injustice issues facing communities across Illinois. I’m pleased to help support Chicago State University’s Black and Latinx Professionals Preparedness Program, helping more students receive the training and development they need to pursue good-paying jobs in the technology field.”

The Initiative to Improve Access to Technology Careers for Black and Latinx Communities will broaden students’ interest and preparedness for technology careers. Through the funding, CSU will create a required data science general education course for all University students and will redesign all technology-related courses to reflect the latest trends in data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence. To broaden access to internet-enabled devices for students and community members, CSU will update equipment in the University’s computer labs.

“We are profoundly grateful to Senator Duckworth for her support of these critical projects for Chicago State University,” said Zaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott, Esq., President of Chicago State University. “This support will strengthen our University's ability to offer students a world-class education in key areas of employment growth in our region and state.”

CSU is uniquely positioned to close the digital divide and increase underrepresented professionals access to IT careers. As Illinois’s only four-year Predominantly Black Institution, CSU is a leader in educating underrepresented students in the STEM fields. CSU further oversees a National Science Foundation-supported program designed to increase the number of sought-after graduates in STEM. This initiative not only allows CSU graduates to access more jobs by training students in the latest data science skills, but also will increase the number of students aware of data science careers. Despite strong wage growth and demand for hiring in data science careers, there are very few women and people of color entering this field.

About Chicago State University

Chicago State University, founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s five colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by a Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting our graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. The University is located near public transit that provides convenient access to the campus.