They’ve Nothing In Common With the Replacement Refs

The inspiring work of I.C. Stars

Moments of clarity are rare, but you usually know when it’s happening. There’s little doubt, for instance, that the Packers-Seahawks game on Monday night was the moment the NFL realized that having Foot Locker clerks on the field wasn’t going to cut it any more.

For Eric Lannert, Vice President at I.C. Stars, which provides full-immersion technology training to low income young adults, his moment was a bit more inspiring. “I went to the founding kickoff fundraiser [for I.C. Stars],” Lannert told us, “ran home and told my wife ‘I know what I want to do for the rest of my life, I know who I want to work for’.”

Lannert’s wife persuaded him to volunteer first. He did, but he also left his job at Accenture and found work two floors below I.C. Stars so he could be closer to the company. When he started volunteering 60 hours a week on top of his job, his wife knew he was serious. Lannert joined full time.

I.C. Stars offers a two-year program to the 10-15 participants (out of up to 600 applicants) in each session, and has an alumni network of nearly 300. “We’re intentionally [keeping our classes small],” Lannert said. “Programming is a craft, it takes time to do it right, and we’re also developing community leaders. That’s why it’s more deep than broad.”

Easily one of the most inspiring organizations we’ve seen, come see I.C. Stars founder Sandee Kastrul at next Thursday’s Uncubed Chicago.

Now go forth (and make the right call).

Nitty Gritty:

96%: I.C. Stars job placement rate

$35k: Avg. increase in earnings for graduates vs. pre-program income

1974: Year Foot Locker was founded