One vital piece of a healthy future for Illinois and its people is a thriving, sustainable, equitable economy.
The U of I System is committed to helping provide that – through educational opportunities that open doors to better jobs and better lives for our students, through research that provides the innovations that create new businesses and invigorate our economy, and through our role as a partner for businesses and governments as they pave the way toward better tommorows.
ONLINE CERTIFICATES BOOST CAREERS IN CANNABIS INDUSTRY
The University of Illinois Springfield wants to help professionals and lifelong learners capitalize on the booming cannabis industry.
Partnering with Green Flower, the UIS Office of Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) offers in-demand non-credit online certificates.
“This market is booming, and those with the right training will be positioned to take full advantage of it,” CAPE Associate Director Rob Kerr said.
Certificates focus on the business of cannabis, agriculture and horticulture, law and policy, and healthcare and medicine. Each certificate features three eight-week courses.
DPI, WILBUR WRIGHT COLLEGE PARTNER TO BUILD MORE DIVERSE TECH-TALENT PIPELINE
The Discovery Partners Institute and Wilbur Wright College have formed a new partnership to support and develop promising and diverse tech talent in Illinois, with a focus on pathways into computer and data science.
Weekly DPI-led workshops are aimed at students participating in Wright College’s NSF-funded Engineering and Computer Science Summer Bridge Program and other students with an interest in computing.
Called “Digital Bridge,” these workshops will provide topical deep dives into Chicago’s tech community and connections to technologists, entrepreneurs, business, and civic leaders. DPI works with World Business Chicago’s ThinkChicago program and other tech leaders to develop these sessions.
DPI RESEARCH SCHOLARS AIM HIGH WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE CHALLENGE
A group of undergraduate students from three Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) partners used artificial intelligence for projects with real-world applications.
One group of DPI Research Scholars created a complex data set of building materials with the goal of tracking both supplies and progress to keep major building projects on track.
Other research scholars focused on autonomous farming, autonomous vehicles and brain research. The new endeavor challenged students from the University of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Institute of Technology.
“What they were solving was a critical part of rolling out AI solutions: The collection of massive amounts of high-quality annotated data needed to train the model,” said Juan Diego Núñez Morales, a PhD student at UIUC and mentor to the students.
“What they were solving was a critical part of rolling out AI solutions: The collection of massive amounts of high-quality annotated data needed to train the model.”
NEW STEM PROGRAM BEARS NAME OF HAITIAN-BORN FOUNDER OF CHICAGO
Two essentials attracted members of the first cohort of DuSable scholars: support and community.
The new DuSable Scholarship Program bolsters the number of Black and Latino students studying STEM-related fields at the University of Illinois Chicago. Jean-Baptiste Pointe DuSable, a Haitian-born Black trader, is recognized as the founder of the city.
“We want to root this program in the local community of Chicago, and we want to connect this program to the legacy of people who are not often represented in STEM programs at UIC,” said Jeremiah Abiade, program director and associate professor of mechanical and industrial engineering.
The program’s first cohort of 19 first-year students will receive housing as well as food and research stipends. Scholarships and fellowships pay for their tuition.
From left, Joshua Nwonye, Kaliah Linear, Shaun Shannon and Blossom Egbuonu are UIC freshmen accepted into the new DuSable Scholars Program.
RESEARCH SPOTLIGHTS RACIAL INEQUALITIES IN CHICAGO'S MIDDLE CLASS
Race plays a major role in how different the idea of middle class can be from one family to another, a new report from the University of Illinois Chicago’s Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy (IRRPP) shows.
In-depth interviews allowed researchers to gain understanding of what influences financial stability.
“(Wealth) captures how the long legacy of structural racism in this country continues to shape people’s life trajectories,” the report states.
In one example, white respondents often came from families that provided lifelong financial support. Conversely, middle-class Blacks and Latinos often not only lacked that support but financially supported extended family, diminishing their resources.
“Chicago’s Racial Wealth Gap: Legacies of the Past, Challenges in the Present, Uncertain Futures” is the fifth installment in IRRPP’s State of Racial Justice in Chicago series.
IIN SEED GRANTS PROMOTE COLLABORATIVE FORWARD THINKING
The number of Sustaining Illinois seed grants from the Illinois Innovation Network keeps growing.
Sustaining Illinois aims to increase research partnerships among public universities. Funding targets economy, health, and social well-being work and each project must include at least two IIN-hub universities.
These new projects funded in early 2022 brought the program’s total to 24:
- Geopolymer concrete for sustainable construction and beyond – Illinois State University and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
- Integrating hydrology and social science for community resiliency against flooding hazards – Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
- Planning the southeast Illinois P-16 computational thinking network – Eastern Illinois University and UIUC.
- Sustainable inclusive supply chain for the electric vehicle industry – Governors State University and University of Illinois Chicago.
AGTECH INNOVATION SUMMIT SCORES BIG IN PERSON
For many, the 2022 Agriculture Technology Innovation Summit felt like a homecoming. In person for the first time since 2020, the summit was at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Memorial Stadium.
The event unites high-profile agriculture companies with bright minds in the ever-evolving industry.
Welcoming participants, Chancellor Robert Jones said, “Wherever the future of agricultural innovation and development may lead this world, the path of that future is going to run right through the University of Illinois and East Central Illinois.”
The gathering featured panels on supply chains, carbon markets, ag-tech investments and more.
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences students and others connected with industry leaders to build networks and explore career opportunities.
DEMAND FOR NURSES PROMPTS NEW CHICAGO DUAL-ADMISSIONS PROGRAM
People passionate about nursing have a new pathway thanks to a partnership focused on the ever-growing need for quality healthcare.
The dual-admissions program allows participants to receive an associate’s degree from City Colleges of Chicago’s Malcolm X College on the way to a bachelor of science in nursing from the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing.
“This program’s graduates will be invaluable assets to their employers and, most importantly, to their patients,” UIC College of Nursing Dean Eileen Collins said.
Students will receive support to stay on track, including regular meetings with UIC academic advisors.
ILLINI SUCCESS FINDINGS SHOW UIUC GRADUATES THRIVED DESPITE PANDEMIC
It would be easy to assume students graduating in spring 2020 had a hard time finding employment. The annual Illini Success report at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign shows otherwise.
“Ninety-one percent of our graduates found a first destination in one of the most challenging periods in living memory. And their skills and knowledge are going to play an important role in the recovery and rebuilding that will be necessary in the years to come,” UIUC Chancellor Robert Jones said.
The report, published in 2021, also listed the average full-time salary for a recent graduate at $65,178, up from $63,515 the previous year.
Plus, UIUC graduates continue to stay in Illinois. About 75% stayed in the state for a job or graduate school.
AVERAGE FULL-TIME SALARY FOR A RECENT GRADUATE
GRADUATES FOUND A FIRST DESTINATION
STAYED IN THE STATE FOR A JOB OR GRADUATE SCHOOL