i.c. stars Milwaukee launching with $1.6 million Dohmen Co. sponsorship

Program trains young adults for tech careers

The Dohmen Co. has committed $1.6 million to help i.c. stars, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that trains low-income young adults for careers in technology, launch its workforce development program in Milwaukee.

The sponsorship will provide i.c. stars with funding, staff and office space as it works to train and place hundreds of young adults into tech jobs within Milwaukee companies, the organization said. It will also kickstart a campaign to scale the organization nationally.

“i.c.stars unlocks the potential of the talented young people in our underserved communities who are looking for their opportunity,” said Sandee Kastrul, founder of i.c. stars. “Our country has half a million unfilled tech jobs awaiting these future leaders. With partners like The Dohmen Co., we can train and place promising students into well-paid careers, while advancing Milwaukee’s reputation as a growing leader in the technology sector.”

The program provides interns with two years of coaching and professional development, and includes a four-month paid internship to help prepare them for technology careers. The organization also works with interns to place them in tech jobs after they have completed the program.

i.c. stars, which is free to participants, costs about $16,000 per intern, with funding coming from corporations and foundations.

“This is more than a sponsorship. This is an investment in our community,” said Cynthia LaConte, chief executive officer of The Dohmen Co. “Supporting this organization is the perfect opportunity for our business leaders to do well by doing good. This program creates equitable access to opportunity through technology training and placement at a time when Milwaukee needs both.”

In Chicago, the organization has seen a 90 percent placement rate among its 400 graduates and an 81 percent retention rate in the technology sector, it said.

The Milwaukee program will initially be based out of The Dohmen Co.’s Red Arrow Labs office in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward.

“It’s a perfect match,” LaConte said. “Our Red Arrow team gains access to new perspectives and a stronger sense of diversity, while i.c.stars benefits by being proximate to a talented pool of tech experts focused on using technology to realize our vision of creating a more efficient, effective and easy-to-use health experience.”

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.