In a one-day Challenge Kickoff, Health Care Service Corporation hosted 16 high school juniors and seniors on Saturday, November 14. Students from Chicago Math & Science Academy and Lake View High School are participating in a student-based enterprise from November 2015 to May 2016. Throughout the program, they will learn critical thinking and problem-solving skills as well as real-world technical skills to prepare them for jobs in STEM. As part of this program, students will also be working with nonprofits and small businesses in Rogers Park to create websites and improve their online presence.

During the full-day challenge sponsored by HCSC, students worked with IT and business professionals to create a concept of a mobile app that targets childhood obesity and encourages a healthy lifestyle. The students were challenged to think about a target audience different from their own age groups, so the apps they designed were intended for eight to 13 year olds.

During this event and the on-going SBE, students are able to experience and develop an interest in areas of IT they may not have known existed. They were exposed to jobs like graphic designer and developer. They also learned project managing, which was especially important for this event, since all steps of the project had to be completed in just one day. For other students, it sparked an interest in the business side; for example, they completed a business plan for their app concept.

Angela Acevedo, a senior project coordinator at HCSC, said this of her experience, “I was most impressed by the way [the students] collaborated amongst their team. Their energy was also captivating, and their engagement throughout the challenge was very empowering and inspiring to us all.”

This incredible experience offered the students a lot of exposure to various parts of business, planning, development and IT careers in general. They learned about teamwork, presentations and business concepts. At the end of the SBE, the winning team of students will win an 8-week paid internship during the summer of 2016.

Acevedo was very excited about this part of the program, saying “What a great way to expose these students to an internship opportunity that encourages them to learn, grow and develop skills in the area of IT and most importantly connect with a mentor. How great is that!”

Acevedo and her team are clearly thrilled to be a part of Lumity’s STEM career readiness programs like career site visits and this student-based enterprise. After a rewarded experience two weeks ago, HCSC’s goal is to inspire other companies in the Chicagoland area to partner with Lumity and provide STEM related summer internship opportunities to high school students. If you’re interested in learning more about partnerships and planning events like this one, contact Tashiara Little at tlittle@

Special thanks to our partners for the student-based enterprise, Creating IT Futures Foundation at CompTIA and Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance.