Category Archives: Internships

Paid Summer Internships at ELCA

We are looking for featured candidates with disabilities who are looking for paid summer internships in information technology. The interns would be with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

Candidates must qualify that:

  • individual should be presently enrolled in an undergraduate/graduate program
  • individual has not attended an internship program in the past with the ELCA
  • individual is not presently employed for the summer

The positions are:

Application Developer Intern

IT Service Delivery Intern

Other internships might be featured in the near future.

Please contact me directly if you have any questions.

Thank you.

Bill O’Connor
Information and Social Media Specialist
AbilityLinks.org

26W171 Roosevelt Road
Wheaton, Illinois 60187
630.909.7444 office
312.420.0576 cell
boconnor@abilitylinks.org

Disability Inclusion Opportunity Summit

Yesterday I had the honor of speaking on a panel at the 1st Annual Disability Inclusion Opportunity Summit which was hosted at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Headquarters on 300 East Randolph Street in Chicago. The ADA 25 Chicago Opportunity Summit assembled national and local leaders to explore strategies to increase access and inclusion of people with disabilities in the areas of education and employment.

Photo via Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Twitter feed (@ChicagolandCmbr)

Photo via Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Twitter feed (@ChicagolandCmbr)

The second day was presented by the Chicagoland Business Leadership Network and the theme revolved around discussing best practices and strategies for recruiting, employing and retaining people with disabilities. The panel I sat on, Closing the Employment Gap, included knowledgeable people from The Sea Glass Group, AbilityLinks, DePaul University, and Health & Disability Advocates. We discussed how employers can diversify their workforce by hiring talented professionals with disabilities. An important aspect of this is looking for talent in the right places.

ITKAN is a member driven professional networking and growth organization with a focus on professionals and aspiring professionals with disabilities within the technology field. While this means getting together with our members monthly to discuss technology and employment trends, ITKAN also works with companies to partner to train to their needs. We will coordinate on-the-job training and internship programs that may or may not be tied to grants or public funding such as National Emergency Grant and Workforce Investment Act. There are great organizations and services out there that will help companies find the right talent, and we are also here to help companies develop processes and documentation for internship and train-to-hire programs for people with disabilities.

If you would like more information, contact our co-founder, Pat Maher at pat.maher@spr.com or myself, Brian Chorba at brian.chorba@spr.com.

ITKAN Chat – Interview with John Wilhelmi

John Wilhelmi is one of our consistent members at ITKAN meetings. He is also a skilled networker and life-learner. When John doesn’t know something…he knows who to ask.  ITKAN members have come to be immersed in the technology field from many paths. Some use “Falling Fruit”, others fight hard for new perspectives on education, and still others become… firefighters to trail-blaze their path. Read on!


Thanks for your time, John. When did you start to develop an interest in IT?

During my freshman high school year, I had to take 2 public buses that met each other at a local mall to get to the school. The morning bus schedules were synced and my transfer between the buses was immediate and arrived at the school 45 minutes prior to the first class. I spent the time in the computer lab learning about programming. The afternoon trip was different. Rather than an immediate transfer to the 2nd return bus, there was a 40 minute delay. I spent the time in the computer section of Radio Shack learning about the Tandy and IBM compatible PC’s.

John Wilhelmi goes “old school” with his background of his Tandy computers!

Did IT assist you in your early education?

For me, writing was very difficult. When I went through grade school, such technology was non-existent. It was only in high school that you saw computers in specialized classes and teacher labs. Although in my senior year in high school, I did have the Commodore 64 in my basement lab to synthesize analog signals (DSP) and was writing equations on the Apple II to solve electronic circuitry deficits using Thevenin theorem.

What is your target sector in IT?

I enjoy both systems administration and software development. Currently I provide software programming support for some applications I wrote in the early 2000’s. The applications have limitations because I designed them for the LAN. Some of the users want to see the same functionality in the cloud and have access to the data on their phones and tablets. For them, I’ve been migrating the application to Salesforce. On the systems administration side, I provide IT consultancy and web design to a variety of small businesses through-out the Chicago area.

ITKAN Member

John Wilhelmi

How did you come across ITKAN?

In 2008 I had started an IoT (Internet of Things) automation business geared towards the house of worship community. Part of the business development strategy was to join the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and expand out from there. Opposite of my expectations, the business collapsed and I found myself looking for a transition out of that particular market. I reached out to friends at the chamber and they directed me towards ITKAN and nAblement.

What direction do you envision in the next 12-24 months in IT?

People say that the desktop is being replaced by the tablet and the phone. I tend to disagree. You might have shrinkage in market share because accessibility to the immediate need of items like email, mms and applications that are portable in nature, but the creative process takes place on the desktop. I see more desktop-cloud hybrid applications being developed. The cloud is a wonderful place to slice and dice data, and distribute applications to a large variety of people. The cloud does not render engineered graphics well and has security concerns that make the public leery of its value.

What’s the one thing most people don’t know about John Wilhelmi?

In the late 80’s I was a volunteer firefighter and earned the Illinois State firefighters II certification. While most of my friends played sports, I was fighting fires and rescuing people. If I was to take on a municipal fire department or communications project, I do have subject matter expertise, and with briefings on how the particular organization works can implement projects with a clear understanding of its goals.

Name your top 5 favorite websites and why.

I enjoy learning. Since I’m not enrolled currently in any university programs, I’m updating my skill set using various on-line sources.

BLS.gov – keeps me abreast of what is really happening in the economy.
Channel9.msdn.com – IT is always changing, why not learn directly from Microsoft about their products.
www.learnvisualstudio.net – great source to update my programming skills.
www.cbtnuggets.com – great source to update my systems administration skills.
www.Youtube.com – additional learning sources.

Thanks John! We hope to hear more from you at our next meeting on July 10th at the Microsoft Technology Center. Email me if you have questions. or would like to register.