Rahm Emanuel plans to lure young people here in hopes of seeding tech jobs
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org August 3, 2011 4:08PM
Updated: November 14, 2011 12:18AM
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday delivered on his campaign promise to bring college students from across the Midwest to Chicago for a weekend to convince them to start their careers and businesses here.
On Oct. 13 and 14, 50 outstanding seniors from schools in Illinois and seven Midwest states — Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota — will come to Chicago for an action-packed weekend that mixes business and fun.
They’ll visit Chicago businesses and firms with offices here, such as Groupon, Google, Grubhub, Microsoft and Accenture, to learn about job opportunities. They’ll attend a pair of panel discussions with industry leaders on topics ranging from innovation and tech entrepreneurship to how to start a career in Chicago.
The seniors will even sample Chicago’s rich cultural institutions and pulsating night life by visiting the museum campus, Second City and a Blackhawks game at the United Center.
The students will also receive passes to the TEDxMidwest conference on Oct. 14 at the Oriental Theater and Chicago Ideas Week Oct. 10 through 16.
Chicago Ideas Week is a seven-day event featuring marquee speakers and interactive sessions that, Emanuel and Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell hope will someday take its place among the best known idea symposiums in the nation.
“There’s a potential that one of those 50 young kids graduating will not go to the [West] Coast, but will come to Chicago. They’ll hook up with a company. They’ll decide to make Chicago home and they will be a rising entrepreneur,” Emanuel told a news conference with Keywell at Groupon headquarters, 600 W. Chicago Ave.
“There’s gonna be one of the individuals they’re bringing in to speak who will say, ‘Who knew of this gem on the lake?’ And they’ll decide to start something here. The opportunities are endless. And we will show … our passion, our love for this city, to the entire world.”
The mayor noted that many people simply pass through Chicago and never leave the confines of O’Hare and Midway Airports.
“They’re now gonna come to our city and stay for a week and see the ideas, see the energy, see the commitment to building the greatest city in the greatest country. So, I think the opportunities are endless and the cost is zero and it’s all upside for the city of Chicago,” he said.
Interested students can apply online at chicagoideas.com/thinkchicago. The deadline is Aug. 30.
ThinkChicago is seeking candidates who are interested in technology and entrepreneurship and have academic honors, extracurricular activities and professional achievements that demonstrate their “commitment to excellence.”
Participating students will be asked to pay for their own transportation to Chicago. Once they get here, they’ll be provided with a list of low-cost options of places to stay. Sponsoring companies are donating their time and tickets.