OpenGovChicago Recap: Creating a more diverse tech scene

Neal Sales Griffin and Gabe Lyon talk about the Technology Diversity Council

On Thursday, the Mayor’s Tech Diversity Council presented at the Chicago OpenGov Meetup. The Tech Diversity Council is a group of Chicagoans appointed by Mayor Emanuel to find ways to create opportunities for minorities in Chicago’s growing technology industry. It’s headed by the Chicago Chief Technology Officer John Tolva.

The Technology Industry Diversity Council has three main goals:

  • Increasing the percentage of minority employees for technology firms.

  • Increasing the percentage of minority-owned and operated technology firms.

  • Helping to create a pipeline through which Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago students can transition into the technology economy.

Gabe Lyon and Neal-Sales Griffin dropped by the meetup to give us a preview of the recommendations that will be presented to Mayor Emanuel.

One of the big focuses of the Tech Council is working to train teachers from Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges on tech skills so they can then in turn teach their students web development. To do this, the city partnered with the Starter League – an entrepreneurial code school located in 1871. This curriculum will be open sourced so that individual groups can take advantage of this effort.

Another initiative of the Tech Council is to increase mentorship effort like Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship and outreach to women and minorities – specifically those who’d like to start tech companies.

While the Council will report their recommendations to the city in the next coming weeks, the work isn’t stopping there. If you have ideas about how to increase diversity in Chicago’s tech scene, feel free to contact the Council at