Some of Chicago’s best have headed to St. Louis.
Today, BLUE|1647 opens its first tech innovation center in the city. The move marks the first national expansion for the Chicago-based organization, who plans on opening six more sites in St. Louis.
Located onsite at the Clinton Peabody Housing Development, the inauguration of the facility also heralds the first time a tech hub has ever set up shop at a federally-funded housing development.
“We are more than excited about our expansion to St. Louis that provides us the ability to build a national pipeline of future technology leaders and innovators by preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Emile Cambry, founder of BLUE|1647 in a statement.
Cambry, one of Chicago’s most admired in tech champions, announced in late July that he will move to St. Louis to oversee operations of the new facilities.
In April, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded BLUE|1647 $3 million in funding in an effort to ignite earning potential and career development for residents living in public housing.
Since then, the organization has partnered with the St. Louis Housing Authority (SLHA) and the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) to administer a Jobs Plus Pilot program. According to a company statement, that program will serve 240 residents — many of whom are single mothers — at the first BLUE|1647 location by providing job training and additional community resources.
As part of the Jobs Plus program, BLUE|1647 will also establish a presence at the Al Chappelle Community Center, where its Technology Innovation Center will provide entrepreneurship and coding curriculum for residents at Clinton Peabody, with the intent of arming residents with the marketable tech skills they need to build careers for the future.
“The involved partners know too well about the ongoing struggle underserved St. Louis communities undergo each and every day,” said Michael K. Holmes, SLATE’s Executive Director, in a statement. “We have designed the Clinton Peabody Jobs Plus to lend a helping hand – giving residents a needed boost to enter the job market with confidence and build a solid and secure future for themselves and their children.”
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