State of Illinois

The IoT Talent Consortium (IoTTC) and the State of Illinois announced a partnership to deliver education curricula designed to further Illinois’ goal of transforming into a “smart state” by using advanced technologies to deliver services better and more efficiently. This new collaboration will provide an affordable, state-of-the-art option for individuals interested in working in the IT industry, beginning with the growing field of data analytics, and provide a mechanism for employers to ensure a pipeline of talent in Illinois.

New technologies like data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) are empowering governments to create new constituent experiences, enable workforce innovation and transform how they deliver services to those who live, work and play within their communities. The IoT is connecting people, processes, data and things, presenting a huge opportunity to harness and analyze data to improve education, transportation, healthcare, safety and other government services. Yet by 2018, industry analysts predict that there will be a shortage of 1.5 million people with the necessary skills to analyze and use big data, in addition to 1 million job openings for cybersecurity.

Working with the State of Illinois, the IoTTC will provide a prescriptive curriculum for data science skills based on the Microsoft Professional Program for data scientists, followed by cybersecurity specialists and others in the future, to help the state meet its needs.

This partnership brings powerful reskilling and comprehensive technical education in digitization to the table for Illinois learners and businesses:

  • Boost economic development for the state of Illinois by providing a 50 percent scholarship toward the data science courses for the first 500 qualified registrants.
  • Create opportunities for minimum security inmates by sponsoring 100 courses for the inmate population, with the possibility of additional funding for individuals who want to take their training further.
  • The IoTTC is bringing together companies, academia and educators all into an ecosystem to help share best practices and drive organizational transformation through building the talent and skills needed for digitization jobs of the future. The offerings include prescriptive learning curriculum for learners for in-demand IoT jobs. The consortium will soon offer organizational leadership and transformation content workshops to help organizations through their digital transformation journey.
  • Graduates from the data science track of the Microsoft Professional Program must successfully master eight core data science skills. Students apply these skills in a final capstone project that requires them to explore and cleanse a dataset, build a machine learning model to analyze the data, and publish it as a web service that will be tested and scored to determine the accuracy of the model. This capstone project acts as tangible proof of the graduate’s ability to employ these skills in a real-world data science scenario.

“Illinois’ partnership with the IoT Talent Consortium supports our commitment to building and growing a strong digital economy,” said Leslie Munger, deputy governor of Illinois. “These courses will help train our workforce to prepare them for jobs of the future and bring jobs back to Illinois.”

“With the rise of smart states comes a rising expectation of how state services will be delivered,” commented Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, president, IoT Talent Consortium, vice president and general manager, Cisco Services. “Fortunately, the increase in digitized infrastructure, supported by IoT technology, is providing new ways to deliver services and improve quality of life. However, orchestrating transformative change on a massive scale requires more than just people who know how to install and maintain technology; there’s a pressing need for innovation, business savvy, and the ability to analyze and create cross-platform solutions that improve the way we work, live, play and learn. We are thrilled to welcome Illinois into our ecosystem to help share best practices and drive organizational transformation with building talent and skills needed for digitization jobs of the future.”