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UST Global, Skills for Chicagoland's Future and 1871 Celebrate Success of "Step It Up" Tech Training Program for Minority Women

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - October 21, 2015) - UST Global, Skills for Chicagoland's Future and 1871 celebrated today the continued success of job training program Step IT Up America in recruiting minority women in Chicago into IT careers. UST Global announced a goal of placing at least 50 Chicago program graduates within the next 12 months.

Launched in June 2014, Step IT Up America's inaugural Chicago class trained minority women in various IT tracks before placing graduates into full-time employment with Fortune 500 companies in Chicago. The second class of 30 participants began its training program last month, which will prepare them for careers in quality assurance testing. Graduates are guaranteed a salaried position with UST Global for one year, and will be placed into a job at a partnering company in the Chicagoland area. UST Global has committed to a long-term goal of training 1,000 Chicago women through Step IT Up America.

Step IT Up America is a national program sponsored by UST Global that serves associates degree or community college-level students and equips them with the technological skills, mentorship programs and industry knowledge necessary to prepare them for a career in the IT sector. In addition to Chicago, Step IT Up has successfully launched programs in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Rochester, N.Y. and Bentonville, Arkansas with a goal of training a total of 1,000 minority women across 10 cities. Step IT Up America ultimately seeks to create 5,000 new jobs for inner-city minority women in tech careers by 2020.

"Programs like Step IT Up cannot thrive without the strong support of participating cities, and that is exactly what we've found in Chicago," said Sajan Pillai, CEO of UST Global. "By working closely with Mayor Emanuel, corporate partners and innovative organizations like Skills for Chicagoland's Future and 1871, we have set the stage for a long-term effort in Chicago to increase the representation of minority women in IT. UST Global believes that diversity in the workforce allows for the sharing of unique perspectives that lead to the creation of meaningful solutions for the world's most pressing challenges."

To date, all Step IT Up Chicago participants have been referred to UST Global by Skills for Chicagoland's Future (Skills), a public-private partnership that meets the hiring needs of employers by offering innovative solutions to place qualified, unemployed and underemployed candidates into available positions. Twelve of the participants in the current class have bachelor's degrees or higher degrees and five have previously held IT positions, demonstrating the depth of applicable skills and experience in Chicago's under and unemployed population.

"Skills for Chicagoland's Future is pleased to continue our partnership with UST Global and Step IT Up," said Marie Trzupek Lynch, founding president and CEO of Skills for Chicagoland's Future. "By sourcing Step IT Up Chicago participants exclusively from Skills, UST Global has recognized the value that these qualified and highly motivated underemployed and unemployed job seekers offer an employer."

The current Step IT Up Chicago class is receiving their training at Chicago's flagship digital tech hub 1871, allowing candidates to immerse themselves in a high-energy environment and see firsthand the potential provided by careers in IT.

"Step IT Up is an important addition to 1871's ongoing initiatives to promote diversity in Chicago's technology industry," said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. "Housing the program at 1871 offers Step IT Up participants a chance to get plugged into Chicago's technology ecosystem from day one, and we are excited to welcome them to our community."

Minority women who are looking to start a new career in IT in any Step IT Up participating city may apply at www.joinstepitupamerica.com.

About UST Global

UST Global is a leading digital technology services company that provides powerful solutions for Global 1000 companies. UST Global's mission is to lead companies through critical digital transformations to drive higher business value. UST Global specializes in six next generation digital services - design, cyber security, mobile, social, analytics and cloud. Powered by the mantra 'fewer clients, more attention', UST Global strives for excellence in providing their clients high quality services and a commitment to long-term success. Headquartered in Aliso Viejo, California, UST Global has over 15,000 associates; operating in 25 countries across four continents.

About Skills for Chicagoland's Future

Skills for Chicagoland's Future (Skills) is a nonprofit, public-private partnership committed to returning unemployed and underemployed job seekers to work by creating demand-driven solutions for employers committed to hiring this population. Skills meets the hiring needs of employers by connecting them with qualified job seekers and providing innovative, customized hiring solutions. Skills is governed by a board of directors comprised of 20 chief executive, finance and human resources officers from the Chicago area. The organization is funded by the City of Chicago and The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, as well as a wide range of foundations and corporations. For more information, visit www.skillsforchicagolandsfuture.com.

About 1871

1871 is the home of more than 325 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 75,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, Techstars Chicago and Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (Flatiron, The Fullbridge Program, Designation and the Startup Institute), and the state's leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city's entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in Inc. Magazine, TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain's Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.