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Mayor Emanuel traveled to the University of Illinois flagship campus in Urbana-Champaign, bringing with him leadership from 39 of Chicago’s leading technology companies, on a recruiting mission.
“Talent is a key factor for companies that decide to grow in Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Attracting top quality talent is a central part of our strategy to grow jobs in Chicago, and the University of Illinois has consistently produced some of the most talented computer scientists and engineers. It is my mission to make sure that these students realize that Chicago is the place they should come after their graduation, to build their careers and help grow Chicago’s tech economy.”
The Mayor participated on a panel with Brad Keywell of Lightbank, Eric Lunt of BrightTag, and Mike Evans of GrubHub. The panel, which was held at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana, was moderated by Rob Rutenbar, Abel Bliss Professor and Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois and was attended by about 250 students. Students from Illinois' computer science and electrical and computer engineering departments participated in the day's events. Both departments are among the Top 5 programs of their kinds globally.
“It's a wonderful opportunity to showcase the momentum building within Chicago’s tech community to our next generation of talent,” said Eric Lunt, CTO of BrightTag. “For recent grads who want to tackle big technology challenges while working in a supportive and fun environment, Chicago is the place to be.”
Afterward, those students and many more convened at the University’s Thomas M. Siebel Center for Computer Science for a networking event. It was at that event that more than 35 Chicago companies were able to directly interact with potential employees.
The companies who came to Urbana-Champaign are:
Aisle50, AlphaMetrix, Analyte Health, Applied Systems, Backstop Solutions Group, Belly, BenchPrep, Body Shop Bids, Braintree, BrightTag, Centro, Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, Cleversafe, edo Interactive Firm 58 Inc., Google, Groupon, GrubHub, Ifbyphone, Illinois Technology Association, Jellyvision, kCura, Lextech Global Services, Narrative Science, Power2Switch, Redbox, SAVO Group, ShopLocal, LLC, SimpleRelevance, Sprout Social, StyleSeek, SurePayroll, The Boeing Company, Threadless, Trunk Club, UrbanBound, Vibes Media, VOKAL Interactive and Wellspring Worldwide.
The trip was conceived and organized by World Business Chicago, which has a stated goal of retaining and attracting the best technology talent from the region. This is a key element of the Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, produced by World Business Chicago earlier this year at Mayor Emanuel’s request. That Plan dictates a regional strategy for economic development and growth.
“Chicago is hitting on all cylinders right now, led by Mayor Emanuel and propelled by a great mix of startups, established companies, serial entrepreneurs, mentors and venture capital, all driving increased demand for the next generation of engineering leadership,” said Dan Lyne of World Business Chicago. “It is fantastic that our companies are lighting up the sky over the city like this, sending a very strong signal that Chicago wants U of I’s talented pool of graduates to look up the road as their next stop.”
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