icstars celebrates 50th class of transforming underserved young adults into tech leaders

Nonprofit with operations in Chicago and Milwaukee hires two graduates as new team leaders

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA, June 8, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — ic stars, which develops leaders through a technology training program for underserved young adults, launched its 50th cohort with 20 participants from neighborhoods across the city of Chicago. The 16-week program prepares young adults with a high school diploma or GED for a career in the growing field of technology.

Founded in 1999 by Sandee Kastrul, icstars drives change through education, training and opportunity. icstars provides underserved young adults with technology-based workforce development, community leadership training, internships and job placement. icstars has an 83% placement rate and 96% of alumni after graduation.

ic stars has also recruited two graduates to strengthen its training team:

– Larry Cowans has been named program director for icstars. A graduate of one of the first icstar classes, Larry has had a successful career in a variety of industries using 3D design. Most recently as Senior Process Plant Designer, Project Manager and Application Specialist at ECE Design.

Cowans will be responsible for the strategic direction of the program, overseeing content and methods. It will work with partner companies, assess certifications and ensure program graduates have acquired the skills employers value most.

– Cristhian Romero will be the Technology Training Manager for icstars, working out of the Chicago office. He is also a graduate of the program (from the 15th cohort) and brings a wealth of technical knowledge to his new role as Training Manager, as well as a personal understanding of student stress.

Romero will lead all technical courses, introducing basics such as HTML, Python, JavaScript, C++ and SQL. He will also be available to trainees, acting as a resource and coach during the day.

Cowans and Romero return to icstars as the nonprofit expands. In addition to its training programs in Chicago and Milwaukee, icstars plans to announce a third location in the Midwest soon.

Cowans says, “Today we focus on Python, CSS, SQL, and all cloud methodologies. My job will be to work with a team and ensure that the instructions we give keep pace with the rapidly changing IT demands of tomorrow.

“I want to motivate and encourage every intern,” he says. “They have to believe in themselves and put their hearts into the work. Many of our students come from difficult backgrounds and through the challenges they have developed motivation and resilience. I will help them channel that resilience into the icstars intensive training program. This is the first step in their technical career path, where they will become leaders and mentors to those who follow.”

As a former icstars participant, Romero feels close to each new class and sees them through two lenses. “I understand their fears and concerns. I recognize their drive, ambition and tenacity,” says Romero. “I ask everyone: do you want something different? The most rewarding part is when I see a trainee make a breakthrough or reach a milestone. They start to believe in themselves.”

The 50th cohort will graduate on July 21. At this point, new graduates will begin their careers in technology and will receive support from icstars for another 20 months. icstars is currently recruiting candidates for its 51st cohort, which will begin in August.


About icstars
Committed to racial equity and social justice, icstars encourages change through education, training and opportunity. We provide underserved young adults with technology-based workforce development, community leadership training, internships and job placement.

In Chicago and Milwaukee, ic stars offers intensive training followed by 20 months of support. Through project-based learning, our stars work as a team to solve a series of real-world problems. They work with our corporate partners to cultivate leadership skills, learn good citizenship and develop a community-oriented mindset.

96% of graduates volunteer after graduation.

We are looking for people who have overcome adversity and developed resilience. We are looking for people who are passionate about technology, can solve problems and are motivated to help others.

Participants in our program learn by doing, building web applications to solve customer problems – with coding, business, and leadership instruction provided along the way. With our partners and corporate sponsors, our stars gain hands-on experience and develop the professional networks needed to kick-start their careers.

Elisabeth Ferruelo
Downtown Computer Stars
+1 281-658-7574
[email protected]

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