Startup Institute Team

Articles by Startup Institute Team

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Building Products and Community in Chicago’s Growing Tech Sector

When Alex Kahn joined Startup Institute Chicago’s web development course in fall 2014, he’d already been a technologist at heart and was ready to take this passion to the main stage.

With a degree in economics and prior experience in market research, growth-strategy, and IT for a Floridian dental practice, Alex came to Chicago ready to immerse himself in both tech skills and the tech community.
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Hacking for Change in Chicago

During our first week of Startup Institute, we participated in a 24-hour IdeaHack. All students at Startup Institute Chicago crave the opportunity to get real-word experience working at a startup– but we were all a little surprised when the opportunity presented itself during week one. Aubrey Schuster of TransTech Social Enterprises kicked things off with a presentation about the organization. TransTech is a nonprofit creative agency that houses an apprenticeship program. They specialize in career development for trans individuals by offering educating and empowering them in the necessary skills to be productive members of the workforce.

The Challenge: Scaling Social Progress and Career Development.

With the goal of expanding both locally and nationally, TransTech looked to our cohort at SI for guidance on how to make their apprentice assessment/ hiring process more streamlined and comprehensive. They not only wanted to make their process more user-friendly, they also wanted to gather more useful data. Many of us, quite frankly, were a little confused at the end of Aubrey’s presentation. And, that was intentional. Our task was left deliberately open-ended to maximize our creativity.

TransTech is working to help people in the trans community gain skills and jobs no matter where they are. In a lot of ways, our hack teams had to do the same thing by working on a cross-functional team with members of varying levels of expertise and build upon each other’s ideas. In short, we had to make something..@TransTechSocial is empowering the trans professionals @rebeckyhogan @erinaengstrom Click To Tweet (more…)

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