Several technology companies announced plans on Monday to add a total of more than 2,000 new jobs in Chicago through 2020, including one business that plans to reshape the city’s South Side.
Representatives for 15 businesses joined Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at the Loop headquarters of Relativity, a software company, to celebrate the city’s Tech Day.
While many cybersecurity, automation and artificial intelligence firms are based downtown, Evanston Technology Partners, the city’s first African American-owned cyber security firm, will be located in the Bronezville neighborhood.
Owner Emanuel Jackson chose the Rosenwald Apartments on South Michigan Avenue, which has had a rich history as a home to Nat King Cole and Gwendolyn Brooks, as a way to entice those who live in the area.
“I simply love Chicago,” he said. “That is important, but also this is a great opportunity for us to say to Chicago ‘we need you to be more inclusive.’ That’s the important part, and I think that is a really good start to making that happen.”
Evanston Technology Partners received a half million-dollar grant to certify new hires. Half of the new hires will be people who live near Bronzeville.
Chicago’s tech industry is the city’s fastest-growing industry sector with over 4,000 digital companies, a more than 270% growth in just ten years, according to a news release from the city.
At the Tech Day ceremony, Mayor Lightfoot stressed why diversity is needed when it comes to technology.
“This is how we build a truly diversified economy, to separate ourselves from other cities in the region, and the country, because we’re building on our strengths and supporting multiple sectors of our economy at the same time," Lightfoot said.