Press Release
March 18, 2014

Mayor Emanuel Announces Expansion of ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza Program

Expansion of Tech Recruitment Program Aims to Attract the Nation’s Top Engineering and Computer Science Students to Chicago After Graduation
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Emanuel announced the launch of the second annual ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza program today. This four day event will introduce the City’s fast-growing technology industry and one of the country’s most popular musical festivals to some the nation’s top technology and computer science students from across the country. This year the program will expand from 100 students to 125 students and aims to attract technology students from around the United States to move to Chicago after graduation. The City of Chicago, Chicago Ideas Week, World Business Chicago, 1871, and Lollapalooza are responsible for organizing ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza.

“We want to attract the best and the brightest students to launch their careers in the City of Chicago after graduation,” said Mayor Emanuel. “ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza provides talented students with the opportunity to experience all Chicago has to offer as we continue to strengthen the City’s position as a technology hub.”

Mayor Emanuel’s ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza program invites university undergraduate and graduate students from around the country to attend a variety of events in Chicago. The program includes a three day pass to the 2014 Lollapalooza music festival; a walkthrough of the festival production areas; and a question and answer session with the Lollapalooza producers. 

Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital starts ups, 1871, will introduce students to many of the City’s most innovative startups at a series of presentations from local startup tech companies. Mayor Emanuel and Chicago-based technologists and entrepreneurs will host a series of discussions and the Mayor will also participate in a panel to hear pitches from ThinkChicago students on tech solutions that could improve the quality of life for Chicagoans.

“We are excited to introduce a new group of talented college students to the technology, innovations, and ideas that Chicago has to offer,” said Chicago Ideas Week Founder and Co-Chairman Brad Keywell. “Through ThinkChicago, the City of Chicago and Chicago Ideas Week hope to inspire talented students to choose Chicago to work, build new ventures, and enjoy all of its offerings.”

Past installments of the program have featured talks by Obama for America 2012 CTO Harper Reed, Siri founder Dag Kittlaus, BrightTag CTO Eric Lunt, Eved co-founder and CEO Talia Mashiach, and GrubHub co-founder and CEO Matt Maloney. Students have also visited such companies as Google, Belly, Basecamp, Braintree, GrubHub, kCura, Microsoft, IBM, Motorola Mobility, Accenture, Catamaran, Groupon, Here, Threadless, Brighttag, Civis Analytics, Morningstar, Orbitz, Sears Holdings, Nielsen, SproutSocial, and Vibes.

“Attracting talent related to science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship is a key component of ChicagoNEXT, the council dedicated to driving growth in these industries, and part of our Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs,” said World Business Chicago (WBC) President & CEO Jeff Malehorn. “WBC is implementing the Plan’s strategies, with initiatives including connecting the next generation of top tech talent with Chicago’s innovators, in order to advance Chicago’s position in the global economy.”

Mayor Emanuel partnered with Chicago Ideas Week to launch ThinkChicago in 2011, which brought 50 students from 13 universities in the Midwest to Chicago to tour local companies. The following year, Mayor Emanuel partnered with the University of Illinois and Chicago Ideas Week to double the size of the program and increased the program’s emphasis on connecting Midwestern students with job and networking opportunities in the city.

"We're thrilled that the city and ThinkChicago are expanding the ThinkChicago Lollapalooza program to allow more top students to get a taste of all that our incredible tech community has to offer," said Howard A. Tullman, CEO of 1871. "This is an outstanding way to attract the next generation of talent -- by combining learning with the fun of Chicago in the summertime. 1871 is proud to be a continuing partner in the program."

With the help of Lollapalooza in 2013, ThinkChicago broadened its focus beyond the Midwest to attract the top student-talent from all across the country. By demonstrating why Chicago is a top destination for the country’s top tech talent, ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza is delivering on World Business Chicago’s Plan for Economic Growth and Jobs, which called for leveraging core Chicago assets like ease of transportation, business climate, and cultural amenities to attract entrepreneurs and emerging industries.

"Lollapalooza is proud to partner once again with Mayor Emanuel to provide this exciting program in Chicago," said Charlie Jones, co-founder of C3 Presents. "We look forward to welcoming 125 students from around the country to gain exposure to Chicago's technology economy and enjoy three days of music at the Lollapalooza festival."

ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza is seeking candidates who are enthusiastic about digital technology, computer science, innovation or entrepreneurship and have demonstrated a commitment to achievement and excellence in their field. ThinkChicago is opening the application to undergraduate and graduate students from engineering, computer science, and technology entrepreneurship programs at universities across the country, including schools such as Stanford University, University of Texas, Cornell University, University of Michigan, and University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign, among others.

Students may submit applications through April 30, 2014 by visiting www.thinkchicago.net. Participating students will be required to secure their own travel and lodging. Questions concerning the program can be submitted to info@thinkchicago.net.

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