Building the
Tech Talent Pipeline
to Chicago

line drawing of chicago skyline

Building the Tech Talent Pipeline to Chicago

By Miranda Holloway

Illini engineers represent the past, present, and future of the Illinois economy. For generations, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has prepared the engineers, entrepreneurs, and innovators who become the next leaders of industry. The impacts of their work can be seen in every part of the world, but the heart of their influence lives just a couple of hours north of campus, in Chicago.

Our graduates fuel the engines of the tech economy in the Windy City. They imagine, build, and reinvent the iconic skyline. They make breakthrough discoveries and pioneer new sectors of industry.

It's no great secret that Illinois produces the kind of talent that high-profile employers on a global scale are dying to hire. But by investing in partnerships and programs that keep our talent local, by offering our students a world-class education with boundless entrepreneurial opportunities, by providing access to a network of more than 70,000 alumni—by building a tech talent pipeline to Chicago—Illinois is building a brighter future.

image of hancock tower and foellinger auditorium

“What if we formed more collaboration with those universities and created a dense network of students, faculty, and research; and encouraged them to form businesses, connect them to the university, and give them the rights and ability to take their research and their technology and commercialize them, and develop products? We thought that would be a major magnet to keeping and growing the Illinois economy.”


image of chicago cityscape featuring sears tower

among Illinois schools for developing entrepreneurs in the Greater-Chicago Area
Pitchbook Universities Report, 2016-2017 Edition

among national universities for undergraduate venture-backed start-ups
(#1 among Illinois schools)
Pitchbook Universities Report, 2016-2017 Edition

among national universities graduating the most future CEOs of well-funded start-ups
Inc. Magazine, published May 14, 2018

in national performance of undergraduate female entrepreneurs
Pitchbook Universities Report, 2016-2017 Edition

image of the illinois engineering campus in urbana-champaign

“The University of Illinois is launching more start-ups than anyone outside of our entrepreneurial ecosystem can comprehend. Start-ups involved in the U of I entrepreneurial ecosystem are frequently meeting with alumni, entrepreneurs, investors and customers in the Chicago area thanks to the efforts of the Champaign ecosystem to ensure they have those opportunities. The results of these efforts are a major factor in planting the seed for a move to Chicago.”


image of engineering hall and merchandise mart

The hustle and bustle of Chicago's downtown "Loop" might seem a world away from the tech prairie buzzing just 137 miles south. But the close connections fostered by a shared vision for advancing technology and cultivating the brightest of minds is increasingly bringing Chicago and Urbana-Champaign closer.

These relationships create a pipeline of collaboration between the resources of Chicago and the great minds that develop and innovate in Urbana-Champaign. The teamwork that grows between these two centers of development and innovation is vital not only to the development of their own strengths, but to the strengths of the state of Illinois. By connecting the brightest minds in the state of Illinois with one another and giving them resources and opportunities, great accomplishments happen.

The economy is strengthened, groundbreaking discoveries are made, and minds are inspired, right at home in the Midwest. What begins here in Illinois has international influence, shaping all realms of technology and engineering.

Story Contact: Joshua Nielsen
IT Contact: Jill Fleming

Your investment will change lives. Please join us in supporting the next generation of Illini engineers.

Make a gift