ITKAN’s Year-Ahead Planning Meeting for 2017

Register for the December 8th event.

Join us for our annual ITKAN Year-Ahead Planning Meeting for 2017 on Thursday, December 8th from 5-7pm at the MTC Chicago. Get excited for new speakers/presenters, training opportunities and increased networking initiatives in the new year. We are planning compelling meetings – including some great tech documentaries accompanied by group discussion! Plan to join us and offer your input to keep ITKAN fresh, insightful, and exciting in 2017.

When
December 8, 2016
5-7:30 p.m.

Where
Aon Tower
Microsoft Technology Center
200 E Randolph Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60601

ITKAN’s Business After-Hours on Innovation and the Future of Work

Register for the November 10th event.

The first annual ITKAN Business After-Hours is on November 10, 2016 at the Microsoft Technology Center in downtown Chicago! Adam Hecktman, Microsoft Chicago’s Director of Civic Technology and Innovation, will kick off the event with an open discussion with leaders of Chicago’s tech, civic and advocacy communities on the shifting definition and impact of innovation on the workforce.

Chris Gandy, former Chicago Bull and now Executive Vice President at Mass Mutual, will give our keynote address! Finally, we will be honoring corporate partner ELCA with the Rose Stein Light from Within Award for their ongoing commitment and support of our mission to create passionate tech leaders with disabilities for the workforce of tomorrow.

You can learn more about fostering innovation through a diverse workforce in this whitepaper from Forbes as well as CEO and Disability Consultant, Debra Ruh’s interview on WBEZ’s Morning Shift. Learn how ITKAN is teaming up with Microsoft and Directions to deliver SQL Server/Business Intelligence training in this blog post co-written by Adam Hecktman and ITKAN co-founder, Pat Maher.

When
November 10, 2016
5-7:30 p.m.

Where
Aon Tower
Microsoft Technology Center
200 E Randolph Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60601

Creating New Realities for Young Adults with Disabilities

ITKAN’s Partnership with the Marriott Foundation’s Bridges From School To Work Program

Christian Sullivan wears an HTC Vive to view the virtual reality film “Walking New York” with the assistance of Microsoft CTO Paul Edlund

Christian Sullivan (left) wears an HTC Vive to view the virtual reality film “Walking New York” with the assistance of Microsoft CTO Paul Edlund (right).

When 18 year old Chicago resident Christian Sullivan arrived at the Microsoft Technology Center for ITKAN’s September meeting, he had no idea that by the end of the evening he would be walking the streets of New York City. After an interactive discussion on the technology of virtual, augmented, and mixed realities, panelist Paul Edlund of Microsoft gave audience members the chance to try out some VR devices for themselves. Christian slipped on the HTC Vive headset—a gadget that until then he had only read about online and seen in videos—and suddenly found himself on a Manhattan sidewalk alongside a group of artists and filmmakers. Christian commented that he could barely believe his good luck; he had been researching VR equipment recently but had figured that it would be long time before he’d be able get his hands on such cutting-edge devices. After one visit to ITKAN, though, Christian had tested not only the Vive but also Microsoft’s HoloLens, a pair of state-of-the-art mixed reality smartglasses. He left the meeting that night energized by the experience and more inspired than ever to pursue a career in IT. “I never thought this was where I’d be tonight,” he said as he took one last look at the screens, sensors, and “new reality” equipment positioned around the room.

Over the past year, the organizers and members of ITKAN have been welcoming young adults like Christian to their meetings and into their network through a partnership with the Marriott Foundation’s Bridges From School To Work program. The Bridges program focuses on preparing young adults with disabilities for the workforce by providing them with job-readiness training and connecting them with job opportunities with local employers. Christian, a current student at Harold Washington College, recently joined Bridges to learn the skills he needs to find his first job. Because of his enthusiasm for technology, Bridges immediately introduced him to ITKAN so that he could meet with and learn from professionals in the industry.

Less than one year ago, Orlando Herrera was in a similar position. Like Christian, Orlando had just graduated high school, wanted to study computer science, and needed help finding his first job. He joined Bridges during the early stages of the program’s partnership with ITKAN and attended the technology group’s October 2015 meeting, along with three other Bridges participants. Orlando enjoyed the experience so much that he continued to come back to ITKAN every month, meeting new people and learning new things each time. Meanwhile, Bridges helped Orlando find part-time employment as a meat clerk at Mariano’s Fresh Market, where he has worked for over nine months and has proven himself a valuable and reliable team member.

Between a busy work schedule and his classes at Daley College, Orlando always manages to carve out time for ITKAN and other tech-related opportunities—including a recent job shadow with Adam Hecktman of Microsoft Chicago. This particular day in the life of the company’s Director of Technology and Civic Innovation took Orlando from the West Loop offices of digital marketing agency Mabbly (for an interview with entrepreneur Wayne Kimmel about his new networking guide, Six Degrees of Wayne Kimmel) to the Goose Island campus of UI LABS (for a demonstration on advanced radar, drone, and anti-drone technologies as used by Israeli Special Forces). His involvement with Bridges and ITKAN made this whirlwind tour of the local tech scene a reality for Orlando, who reflected on the impact of ITKAN. He considers the organization “very important” and remarked that “technology is being advanced daily, and ITKAN helped me meet people with initiatives and ideas to help promote people with disabilities in this area.”

Orlando Herrera listens to a presentation at the Microsoft Store during a job shadow with Director of Technology and Civic Innovation Adam Hecktman.

Orlando Herrera (far right) listens to a presentation at the Microsoft Store during a job shadow with Director of Technology and Civic Innovation Adam Hecktman.

Whether it’s through a thrilling virtual reality demo or an equally immersive job shadow, ITKAN is giving the young adults of Bridges a glimpse into what is possible. As the partnership between the two organizations enters its second year, more young people like Christian and Orlando will have the opportunity to build the professional knowledge and relationships to one day become IT leaders in their own right—one meeting at a time.

October 2016 Meeting – Navigating the Screening and Interview Process for Candidates with Disabilities

Register for the October 13th meeting.

Impression Management, Behavioral Interviewing, and Putting Your Best Self Forward

It’s tough to get on track with your career, and if you manage a disability as well it’s even tougher! The unemployment rate for PwD was nearly twice that of the general labor force in 2015 and the labor force participation rate continues to be dramatically lower as well. Additionally, negative perceptions related to productivity, illness, and cost among other key labor force factors persist regarding PwD in the workplace despite research indicating their capacity and value.

Join us as we explore opportunities for you to create and make the most of your career in this challenging and competitive environment. Recognize that your disability is a strength that can be clearly communicated to a prospective employer! Professor Fong Chan will share his application of Impression Management principles with the audience along with his decades of experience. Cabot Microelectronics Global Director of IT, Tim Roessler, and Lisa Polevoes, Sr. VP of Human Resources at Cabot will join Prof. Chan to provide insights on Behavioral Interviewing techniques. Take the next step in your career development by joining us in the Boardroom of Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital on October 13th!

Professor Fong Chan, Chair – Dept. of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison has been a global leader in establishing evidence-based research practices on behalf of supporting a higher quality of life for PwD. Tim Roessler serves on the ITKAN Advisory Team and has been a great supporter of PwD in the workforce.

When
October 13, 2016
5-7 p.m.

Where
Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital
26W171 Roosevelt Road
Wheaton, IL  60187
Building 1, Board Room

September 2016 Meeting – New Realities

Register for the September 8th meeting.

From movies and television to video games, virtual reality is already a hot technology. But, from the popularity of Pokemon GO and the development of Microsoft’s HoloLens, new realities – augmented and mixed – have come to the forefront. And they promise to deliver much more than enhanced entertainment! With a wide range of applications such as education, design, engineering, construction, and more, the evolving landscape for these technologies can be daunting to digest.

Join us at the next member meeting when Adam Hecktman, Director of Technology and Civic Innovation Microsoft Chicago, moderates a panel discussion of experts from the tech industry; Paul Edlund, CTO – Microsoft Technology Center, Matt Mead, CTO – SPR Consulting, and Naresh Koka, Vice President of Strategic Alliances – SPR Consulting, will elaborate on the differences between virtual, augmented, and mixed realities. They’ll also demonstrate the Hololens. This promises to be an immersive meeting!

When
September 8, 2016
5-7 p.m.

Where
Aon Tower
Microsoft Technology Center
200 E Randolph Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60601

August 2016 Meeting – Array of Things in Chicago

Register for the August 11th meeting.

Many of us know about the Internet of Things, but what about the Array of Things (AoT)? This system of sensors placed around a city provides real-time feedback about specific locations. Depending on what they’re programmed to collect, the sensors might gather data on air quality, light, pollution or density of people. These arrays are being used in cities in Europe and Asia, and now they are coming to Chicago.

Join us at the next member meeting when Jeff Solin discusses the Array of Things and the micro-example, Lane of Things, he’s set up for students at Lane Tech High School. The students devise sensor kits to gather and analyze data on school life as part of a six-week curriculum that ties into the city’s Array of Things environmental sensor initiative.

Jeff Solin is a Computer Science / Making teacher and FIRST Robotics coach at Lane Tech College Prep High School in Chicago, IL. Through the National Science Foundation and eventually a partnership with Code.org, this team successfully helped create CS pathways for both students and teachers in all of Chicago Public Schools through an initiative known as CS 4 All. Jeff also designed and built the LT Maker Lab (Twitter: @LTMakers), wrote the curriculum for the course and currently teaches over 150 students in the space. Jeff is also a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Illinois at Chicago. With a BS in CS and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from Ohio State University Jeff is honored to have been a recipient of the Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award and a nominee for the Golden Apple Award.

When
August 11, 2016
5-7 p.m.

Where
Aon Tower
Microsoft Technology Center
200 E Randolph Street, 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60601