Press Release
September 11, 2017

Mayor Rahm Emanuel Announces Open Applications for ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week 2017

Annual Program Will Host 200 Top Tech, Engineering, Design and Business Students in Chicago
Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced ThinkChicago is now accepting applications for its seventh annual installment of ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week, taking place October 19-21. Mayor Emanuel, ChicagoNEXT, the University of Illinois System and Chicago Ideas Week will welcome 200 students from top universities across the country to Chicago. Student participants will have the opportunity to experience Chicago’s growing tech scene, meet leading innovators, technologists and business leaders and attend Chicago Ideas Week.
 
“Attracting and cultivating the most diverse, innovative talent available is key to Chicago’s future as a global tech hub,” Mayor Emanuel said. “ThinkChicago brings together the best and brightest students who are looking to work at a Chicago-based company or build a startup of their own. Our goal is for them to see exactly why Chicago ranks high among millennials interested in tech.”
 
ThinkChicago is seeking a wide range of students with an exceptional academic track record and a commitment to innovation and technology. Preferred applicants are juniors, seniors or graduate students considering Chicago for potential employment. Applicants with work, internship, leadership and entrepreneurial experience are especially encouraged to apply by visiting www.thinkchicago.net. Applications are due 11:59 pm on Sunday, September 17, 2017.
 
This year’s ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week will serve 200 students – a notable increase since its launch in 2011 when fifty students from thirteen universities participated. Between the Lollapalooza and Chicago Ideas Week programs, ThinkChicago has collectively provided 1,200 students the opportunity to explore Chicago’s growing tech scene.
 
"As Chicago Ideas strives to spark action within our community through our programming at Chicago Ideas Week, we are proud to invite the country's most gifted students to experience Chicago's tech and entrepreneurial scene," Brad Keywell, Chicago Ideas Week Founder and Co-Chairman said. "Through our partnership with the City of Chicago, the University of Illinois and World Business Chicago, we hope to inspire students to bring their talents to Chicago's thriving and diverse ecosystem."
 
“ThinkChicago is our effort to connect rising talent across the country with many of Chicago’s leading, innovative businesses,” Mark Tebbe, chairman of ChicagoNEXT said. “Students have the opportunity to explore what makes Chicago’s tech scene exciting while Chicago businesses get the chance to connect with the brightest and most diverse generation of talent.”
 
Notable tech, business and civic speakers of the Chicago Ideas Week and Lollapalooza programs have included: Mayor Emanuel; Harper Reed, founder of Modest, Inc. and CTO of Obama for America 2012; Dag Kittlaus, founder of Siri; Shradha Agarwal, President and Co-Founder of Outcome Health; Matt Maloney, CEO of GrubHub; Charles Adler, co-founder of Kickstarter and founder of the Center for Lost Arts; Caralynn Nowinski Collens, CEO of UI LABS CEO and Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871.
 
Student participants have met with many of Chicago’s leading tech companies, including Avant, Belly, Braintree, Civis Analytics, Cleversafe, CME Group, Outcome Health (formerly ContextMedia), Discover, Google, Groupon, Ideo, Jellyvision, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Morningstar, Motorola Mobility, Narrative Science, Orbitz, Raise, Relativity (formerly kCura), Rise Interactive, Signal, Sprout Social, Threadless, Uptake and more.
 
“Providing our graduates with exciting opportunities to live and work in Illinois is a key priority to help drive innovation and economic growth across the state,” said University of Illinois President Tim Killeen. “This event is a showcase for what Chicago has to offer, and we are delighted to once again partner with Mayor Emanuel, World Business Chicago, and Chicago Ideas Week to highlight the city’s vibrant tech community and the many career opportunities that are available to our students and alumni.”
 
Last month, Mayor Emanuel held the fifth installment of ThinkChicago: Lollapalooza, which brought 200 students from across the country to Chicago for four days of programing and the Lollapalooza music festival. The program hosted a Civic Tech Challenge, a pitch competition among student participants to propose ways in which the City of Chicago can use technology to encourage civic engagement among its constituents. The winning idea was a dashboard design that predicts when city vehicles will need servicing in order to better inform the decision-making process of Chicago’s Fleet and Facility Management Department. Three teams who made it to the final round received prizes from Lollapalooza and Motorola and automatic acceptance to ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week 2017.
 
Chicago Ideas Week is a week-long ideas festival that attracts 30,000 attendees and features 200 speakers across 150 programs. Chicago Ideas Week events include stage programs featuring globally recognized speakers, and labs offering hands-on experiences. The organization's mission is to provide accessible programming to engage a diverse audience in order to spark positive change in the world.
 
ThinkChicago: Chicago Ideas Week is organized by the Mayor’s Office, ChicagoNEXT, the University of Illinois System and Chicago Ideas Week. For more information, visit www.thinkchicago.net.

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