iMentor Chicago Partners with Chicago Tech Academy to Impact Students on City's South and West Sides

iMentor Chicago is excited to announce our fifth Chicago Public School (CPS) partner, Chicago Tech Academy High School. Together, iMentor Chicago and Chicago Tech Academy will further a combined mission to impact Chicago youth by educating, empowering and connecting young, innovative learners to discover their passions, succeed in college and career, and thrive in a digital world. iMentor matches high school students in long term one-on-one mentoring relationships.

Since launching in 2015, iMentor Chicago has supported thousands of young people on their journey to flourishing careers and economic mobility for themselves and their families. Our partnership with Chicago Tech Academy uses project-based learning, STEM education, real world experience with Chicago companies, and entrepreneurial principles to shape a diverse next generation of leaders and entrepreneurial thinkers.

We know that a rapidly evolving, increasingly globalized professional landscape demands that Chicago students enter the workforce equipped with 21st century job skills, in order to compete in a technologically dominated society. We also recognize that training alone can only take someone so far, and that mentorship, guidance and support are critical elements to a young person's high school and post-secondary success.

Chicago Tech Academy's Corporate Engagement and Volunteer Manager LaTrease Davenport shared that "[we're] excited to partner with iMentor! Mentorship is a pillar of our real-world learning experience. The 11th-grade year is a critical year for high school students and mentorship is pivotal, as students transition toward post-secondary endeavors. The possibilities are endless, and we are thrilled to see our students grow with iMentor."

Currently, a bachelor’s degree is worth 84% more than a high school diploma. First-generation college students, students from under-resourced communities, and Black and Latine students face disproportionate adversity when it comes to acquiring a college degree, compared to their peers. iMentor’s model is designed to address the unique and interconnected challenges facing these students. Chicago Tech Academy enrolls students from South and West Side neighborhoods - the same neighborhoods where iMentor's four other partner schools are located, and where the majority of students are Black and Latine. Our high school program supports all juniors and seniors across our partner campuses. In addition to receiving weekly in-class support from our program staff and consistent guidance from their 1:1 mentors, students will now have access to direct career exploration opportunities.

In addition to college readiness programs, we are building a pipeline of talent that reflects the communities we serve in Chicago and helps the city meet its labor needs. We are working to create career pathways for young people of color in a range of industries—including tech, manufacturing, financial services, insurance, and allied health—with starting salaries as high as $70,000.

With all of our student's post-secondary aspirations in mind, iMentor's Next Gen Leaders initiative extends our focus beyond college to career. We are thoughtfully poised to combine our impact and ready students for flourishing, post-secondary pathways within the technology sector. iMentor's post-secondary program supports students for an additional two years after graduating high school. Students are enrolled in a variety of certification and degree programs across all career verticals. Next Gen programming focuses on building necessary skills and relationships to kickstart their full-time careers.

Looking ahead, iMentor Chicago continues to evolve. Our work with Chicago Tech Academy represents one step in an ambitious and exciting growth initiative, which will double our number of school partnerships by 2024 and continue to expand participation in our post-secondary program. Each time a mentor and student work together, it creates a ripple effect of positive change for the entire community. As our work continues to grow, that positive change will be felt throughout all of Chicago.