CHICAGO, IL - (Marketwire - Aug 23, 2011) - The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) in conjunction with GrubHub announces the expansion of the 2011 ITA Fall Challenge. The 2nd annual Challenge now includes visits to 10 universities in the region to educate more than 1,000 students about technology career opportunities available in Illinois. ITA also announced the creation of the Fall Challenge Leadership Board, an executive organization focused on developing a conduit of talent to the region. The Leadership Board will host ongoing conversations with universities, industry leaders, civic organizations, and government to develop an ongoing conduit of talent to support the vibrant tech community in Illinois.
The ITA Fall Challenge is a unique competition for Illinois students, offering cash rewards to the top three winners, introductions to some of the country's most innovative companies and their leaders, and opportunities to interview for positions with sponsoring companies. To compete in the Fall Challenge, students take a comprehensive test developed by sponsoring companies on each campus. Those with qualifying scores earn the right to attend the Final Challenge where finalists compete for $8,500 in prizes and the opportunity to meet key industry hiring managers. The exam hinges on real-world issues rather than information typically found in textbooks.
"The ITA Fall Challenge offers the best and brightest talent in Illinois an opportunity to showcase their unique skills and innovative thinking. It also provides the State's robust technology community, including some of the fastest growing IT start-ups in the country, a venue to discover new talent. It is a great way for students and executives to learn more about each other and interact on a creative playing field," said Mike Evans, GrubHub co-founder and COO.
One of last year's Fall Challenge finalists from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Archana Sethuraman, said the program provided her a great opportunity to excel.
She added, "The preliminary event and the final contest were comprehensive covering all major domains like design, development, database and QA. I gained great contacts in the industry and found an internship at Model Metrics where I am now a full-time employee. Overall, I feel that the ITA Fall Challenge is a great opportunity for students to showcase their technical skills and get hired by some of the best companies in Chicago."
Jared Lash, last year's third place winner and a graduate student at Northern Illinois University, said, "The program was extremely valuable and provided networking opportunities that I would have never been able to secure on my own."
The Illinois Innovation Council (IIC) is also participating in the 2011 ITA Fall Challenge to support its mission of developing innovative methods to create jobs and spur economic development in the region.
"Illinois technology firms are on the cutting-edge of innovation and entrepreneurship," said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. "The Illinois Technology Association Fall Challenge is an excellent pathway to connect bright, creative talent with the innovative businesses that are creating jobs in Illinois. We are pleased the ITA, in concert with the Illinois Innovation Network, is creatively working to grow Illinois' economy."
"Illinois has one of the biggest gaps in the nation between open technology positions and qualified talent," said Fred Hoch, President, ITA. "We hope to close the gap with the Fall Challenge and Leadership Board by building a dynamic group of Illinois leaders to ensure we are continually growing the local technology community. The Fall Challenge helps us cultivate relationships with tomorrow's rising young technology leaders from universities across the region and introduce these stars to the top innovative companies in our area."
The 2010 ITA Fall Challenge visited seven universities, identified 47 finalists and placed 23 Illinois students in 21 Illinois companies including GrubHub, Allscripts, Model Metrics, BigMachines, Pointbridge, and others.
The 2011 ITA Fall Challenge supporting sponsors include: Allscripts, Backstop Solutions Group, LLC, Centro, Groupon, Model Metrics, SmartSignal, and SPR Companies. Participating sponsors include Authentify, Cleversafe, Corptax, Forte Knowledge, MBX Systems, Vibes Media, ifbyphone, dotomi and Pointbridge.
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 visit www.illinoistech.org.
Contact the ITA at email@example.com, follow the discussion on Twitter at @itabuzz, and visit www.illinoistech.org to find out more about how ITA supports the growth of the local industry.
© Illinois Science and Technology Coalition
Illustration by Dieter Braun