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Windy City to Welcome 2,000 New Jobs in Cybersecurity and Technology

Cybersecurity and technology firms have revealed plans to create 2,000 new jobs in Chicago, Illinois, next year.

The encouraging news was revealed yesterday when representatives of 15 different businesses joined the Chicago mayor, Lori Lightfoot, to celebrate the city's third annual Tech Day. The event was held at the headquarters of software company Relativity

Chicago’s first African American–owned cybersecurity firm, Evanston Technology Partners, is one of the companies looking to recruit extra staff in 2020. 

The company, which is partnered with IBM, Dell, Oracle, EMC2, Palerra, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, currently employs 40 people. Owner Emmanuel Jackson told NBC Chicago that he plans to hire 90 more members of staff over the course of next year. 

The city of Chicago has awarded Evanston Technology Partners a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) grant of $500,000 to support the training and certification of new hires. The company, which is located on 47th street in the city's Bronzeville neighborhood, plans to source at least half of its 90 new recruits from within the local community.    

Emmanuel Jackson spoke to NBC about the growing need for more cybersecurity professionals, saying, "There are 400,000 vacant cybersecurity positions right now. By 2023, 2024, that number is supposed to go up to possibly 1.8 million." 

Relativity CEO Mike Gamson chose Tech Day to announce plans to train 20 or so new recruits from traditionally under-served communities to work in the legal software field. 

"As tech leaders, it’s important to reach into the communities where opportunities often don’t come," said Gamson.

"We’re going to find people with the potential—irrespective of their background—and we’re going to pay them to come in and learn from us."

Over 143,000 Chicagoans currently work in tech, with the majority of opportunities based in the city’s more affluent areas. Speaking at the Tech Day event, Mayor Lightfoot urged Chicago to distinguish itself by developing the diversity of its economy.

"This is how we build a truly diversified economy and separate ourselves from other cities in the region, and in the country, because we’re building on our strengths and supporting multiple sectors of our economy at the same time," Lightfoot said.

Chicago is currently home to over 4,000 digital companies. According to World Business Chicago, Chicago's technology industry has experienced 270% growth over the past decade and is the fastest-growing industry sector in the city.

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