BTEC Is Bridging Chicago’s Tech Disparities

COMMUNITY AREA #23: Humboldt Park — Business Tech Education Center

HUMBOLDT PARK— Over the past few years, Chicago has become one of the world’s major hubs for tech companies and startups. And while the city has reaped enormous rewards from these new enterprises, the benefits have not always been equitably divided.

Enter: BTEC, or, the Business Tech Education Center. With the aim of reducing the barriers of exposure to, training for, and education in new and emerging technologies that plague marginalized communities, BTEC has been expanding access across the Chicagoland area for years.

Now, they’re planting new roots in Humboldt Park, bringing a variety of new programs (an amatuer radio incubator, BTEC Radio; BTEC eSTEAM, which offers lessons in a variety of tech fields—from drones to 3-D printing to coding & robotics—that are changing the shape of the future; and, BTEC Studio, where students will learn media and production skills that will be vital in tomorrow’s economy) that are designed to give training to students who may otherwise never have access.

To further this pursuit, the City of Chicago recently awarded BTEC a Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grant to build out their new location in Humboldt Park, where they’ll be better equipped to engage their target community: marginalized students in Chicago.

Check out the video below to learn more about the work BTEC does and see how you can get more involved.

77 Project: BTEC from Chicago Ideas on Vimeo.


The 77 Project is a storytelling and media project presented in partnership with Xfinity with additional support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to help redefine the narrative of our neighborhoods from the inside out. We’ll spend 2019 shining a light on organizations and individuals in each of the 77 community areas of Chicago who are making a positive impact. Know someone we should speak with? Recommend them here.

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