Chicago’s Business, Education Leaders Strategize Ways To Invest In A Next-Gen Workforce

September 29, 2018



For “Cracking the Code” event, Genesys Works convened experts from across industries to speak about workforce development, increasing tech education and diverse hiring efforts

CHICAGO, Sept. 27, 2018 — Today, Genesys Works, a national nonprofit that provides paid internships and job training to high school students from underserved backgrounds, convened leaders from across the city to discuss ways to expand technology education to bolster the city’s next-gen workforce.

The “Cracking the Code” event took place at the Chicago Cultural Center, and panelists included Juan Gonzalez, Director of Youth and Education Policy, The City of Chicago; Eric Lugo, Executive Vice Chancellor, City Colleges of Chicago; Jim Coleman, Senior Managing Director – Chicago, Accenture; Shelli Nelson, President, Chicago SHRM; and Liz Rafferty, Executive Director, Genesys Works – Chicago.

“Creating a workforce that is diverse and well-skilled is no easy task and our discussion tonight highlighted the cross-sector collaboration that is key to us reaching our goals,” said Liz Rafferty, Executive Director of Genesys Works – Chicago. “I was honored to sit alongside these brilliant leaders representing organizations ranging from tech-giant Apple to the City of Chicago. It shows that players from different arenas are committed to coming together to support young people like those in our Genesys Works program and equip them with the tech skills to thrive in the future workforce.”

The event marked the near one-year anniversary of Genesys Works’ collaboration with Apple and the City of Chicago to offer the Everyone Can Code curriculum to Chicago’s nearly 500,000 students. Since the program offering was piloted in Chicago, 23 Genesys Works students have been able to build the skills they need to pursue careers in the app and coding economy by becoming proficient in Swift, Apple’s easy-to-learn programming language.

“For Americans and our economy to thrive, our workers need the education and training required to fill the digital economy jobs of today and tomorrow,” said Jim Coleman, Office Managing Director – Chicago, Accenture. “Organizations like Genesys Works’ are critical to igniting a spark of interest in tech fields and ultimately giving us the chance to help train the next generation of Chicago’s business leaders.”

The Cracking the Code event was sponsored by Genesys Works’ business and organization partners, including Accenture, CIBC, Business IT Source, CDW, Cisco Systems, Inc., Dell Technologies, DTI, The Geary Family, GE Transportation, Adam and Carey Hecktman, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Lantern Partners, Eric Patton, Sofbang, LLC, and West Monroe Partners.

The Genesys Works program includes eight weeks of technical and professional skills training, a paid year-long internship at a Chicago-based corporate site, college and career coaching, and alumni support to and through college. The organization’s corporate partners in the city include Accenture, AT&T, Grant Thornton, Salesforce, Kirkland & Ellis and Chicago Public Schools, among others. In 2017, Genesys Works served nearly 4,000 students nationally and over 700 in Chicago, with 73 percent of its alumni having graduated or are still enrolled in college. More information about the Genesys Works’ Chicago site can be found at: //

More information about the Cracking the Code event can be found at: //



Genesys Works provides pathways to career success for high school students in underserved communities through skills training, meaningful work experiences, and impactful relationships. Our program consists of 8 weeks of technical and professional skills training, a paid year-long corporate internship, college and career coaching, and alumni support to and through college.  Our goal is to move more students out of poverty and into professional careers, creating a more productive and diverse workforce in the process.  Since its founding in 2002, Genesys Works has grown to serve more than 4,000 students annually in Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington’s National Capital Region.   To learn more, visit

CONTACT: Allison Kopp | 678.313.2966 |

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