CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In 2016, Danica Lohja was one of the first City
Colleges of Chicago (CCC) graduates to participate in an innovative
program at Accenture (NYSE:
ACN), where she gained and utilized valuable skills in information
technology (IT). After successfully completing the one-year program, she
and three other former interns are now full-time Accenture employees.
Accenture has also hired eight new interns, doubling the size of its
original City Colleges internship cohort.
Accenture extended full-time employment offers to four participants in
its internship program, all four of whom are graduates of Wright
College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, and the Center for
Excellence in information technology education. After completing the
one-year internship, they have accepted full-time positions in
Accenture’s IT department located in downtown Chicago—Danica as an
ecosystem product and services analyst, two of her colleagues as
software engineering analysts and one as a software engineering
Through the relationship with CCC, Accenture provides City Colleges
graduates with rotational internships within its internal technology
team. These paid internships are designed to help students learn and
implement a variety of IT solutions within the company’s dynamic global
business environment. The internship program expanded in 2017 – with
eight CCC graduates starting the program this summer, all from Wright
“Through the College to Careers initiative, City Colleges students are
being prepared for the rigors and realities of today’s workplaces – both
in the classroom and through programs like Accenture’s IT internship,”
said Juan Salgado, chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago. “The
intern-to-employee model provides opportunities for our students to
demonstrate their value and potential to employers.”
Jim Coleman, Chicago Office Managing Director of Accenture, said: “Local
apprenticeships like these ignite an interest in specific technology
fields through hands-on experience, helping to build the pipeline needed
to address the skills shortage faced by Chicago employers. We are so
pleased to welcome our City Colleges graduates and interns to Accenture.”
In 2016, City Colleges of Chicago announced a collaboration with
Accenture to help enhance and shape the IT curriculum at City Colleges,
as part of the community college system’s College to Careers initiative.
All colleges in CCC offer IT courses. Wright College offers all degree
programs and leads the system’s effort.
College to Careers aligns each of the seven City Colleges with a
high-demand career sector and connects faculty and staff with leading
employers and four-year universities to prepare students for the tens of
thousands of jobs coming to the Chicagoland region over the next decade,
24,000 of which are expected to be in IT.
Wright College graduate Danica Lohja didn’t know what to expect when she
began her internship at Accenture last year, but she was excited about
the opportunity. “My classes and experience at Wright helped a lot in
terms of improving my soft skills, problem solving and connecting with
smart students and instructors – helping me feel confident about the
internship,” Danica said. “I didn’t know what to expect joining such
large organization with broad and complex business model. I just knew I
made the right decision because I wanted to get my foot in the IT
Industry, and based on my research, Accenture sounded like a perfect fit
Danica earned an associate degree in Computer Information Systems at
Wright with high honors in 2016. In addition to her full-time job at
Accenture as an Ecosystem Product and Services Analyst, she is also
pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Northeastern Illinois University.
Robert Kerby turned his computer hobby into a career and an opportunity
for lifelong learning. He is now employed full-time at Accenture as a
Software Engineering Associate. “Since IT changes all the time you have
to keep learning and getting more experience,” he said.
Upon starting his internship with Accenture last year, Robert’s goal was
to be part of the team, learn as much as possible and gain more
responsibilities. During his internship, Robert drew upon his experience
from his IT classes at Wright College: “All of the struggling I did in
classes to troubleshoot my problems helped me out. Also, you have to
work as a team and since we worked in teams in my classes, that also
prepared me,” Robert said.
Robert says he looks forward to learning from and supporting his team in
his full-time position as a Software Engineering Associate, where he
will handle programming related tasks such as coding, testing and
implementation. In addition to thriving in his new role, Robert is also
considering pursuing his bachelor’s degree in IT.
Rigoberto Velazquez recently transitioned from his internship to a
full-time position as a Software Engineering Analyst with Accenture.
“When I first decided I would pursue IT as a career, I felt it would be
a long uphill battle. When I received this internship, I was beside
myself with gratitude. Wright College has leveraged their relationship
with a great company and provided me with an opportunity to start my
career on a solid foundation,” Rigoberto said.
Wilbur Wright College is City Colleges’ Center of Excellence for IT,
offering several associate degree and certificate programs in
disciplines that include computer science, networking systems and
technology, web development and more, as well as a full complement of
associate degree programs leading to transfer and employment. City
Colleges students may begin their IT studies at any of the seven City
About City Colleges of Chicago
The City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) is the largest community college
system in Illinois and one of the largest in the nation, with 5,500
faculty and staff serving more than 90,000 students annually at seven
colleges and five satellite sites city-wide. CCC is in the midst of a
Reinvention, a collaborative effort to review and revise programs and
practices to ensure students leave CCC college- and career-ready. CCC’s
College to Careers initiative partners with industry-leading companies
to prepare Chicagoans for careers in growing fields.
The City Colleges of Chicago includes seven colleges: Richard J. Daley
College, Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College,
Harry S Truman College, Harold Washington College and Wilbur Wright
College. The system also oversees the Washburne Culinary Institute, the
French Pastry School, two restaurants, two cafes, a banquet facility,
five Child Development Centers, the Center for Distance Learning, the
Workforce Academy, the public broadcast station WYCC-TV Channel 20 and
radio station WKKC-FM 89.3. For more information about City Colleges of
Chicago, call (773) COLLEGE or visit www.ccc.edu.