New BLUE1647 series wants to help local businesses better utilize their data

Written by Andreas Rekdal
Published on Jan. 29, 2016
New BLUE1647 series wants to help local businesses better utilize their data

What would your neighborhood corner store or dry cleaner look like if it took full advantage of the data available to it?

CivicBLUE 1647, a data education project based out of Pilsen’s

, is now accepting registration for its CivicBLUE Curriculum, a 9-week series of seminars and labs.

The series, which is provided free of charge by the civic-minded technology center and co-working space, teaches local businesspeople and nonprofits practical data skills.

The goal is to help participants make better use of open data sources as well as their own organizations’ data, and show them how to leverage data to grow their businesses and improve delivery of nonprofit services.

“The Curriculum is a fulfillment of one of our goals, which is to start an ongoing conversation between technologists and the community,” said program director Sebastian James in a statement. “There is a lot of knowledge and experience about data and technology that can easily be passed on to business and social entrepreneurs. CivicBLUE wants to use the Curriculum as a conduit for the community to learn and use as a catalyst for innovation.”

Starting with a "Data 101" course on February 11, the course and workshop series will cover a number of topics ranging from using spreadsheets to mining data, using social media, researching public opinion and ensuring data security.

The curriculum was developed in collaboration with Microsoft and Accenture. Courses will take place at BLUE1647’s Blue Island location from 7 to 9 p.m., but will be live streamed to other BLUE 1647 locations.

The Curriculum series is part of a broad portfolio of initiatives by the organization, which strives to foster greater diversity in the tech community. Its 1919: Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship Initiative provides mentorship, networking opportunities, and workshops to its participants completely free of charge. Other offerings include Latina Girls Code, a programming bootcamp for girls ages 7–17, and a Minecraft Coding Camp that teaches Java to children ages 7–12.

Late last year, BLUE1647, which was founded in 2013, launched a new business incubator in the Englewood neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, which is home to 55 local businesses and is providing advanced IT training for youth and adults in partnership with Microsoft and Cisco. It also has a center in Lawndale, as well as two centers in St. Louis.

Images via BLUE1647.

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