Leveraging Chicagoland’s Technology Purchasing Power to Achieve Equity and Racial Justice

The positive impacts of the ever-expanding tech economy have meant meaningful work for thousands and increased prosperity to Chicago, but whole swaths of neighborhoods don’t have access to it. The Comer Foundation, P33 and SDI Presence came together to create a sustainable and equitable model that produces economic and social change for everyone including historically underrepresented individuals and communities.

Chicagoland corporations spend $40B on technology projects and IT services annually. Most of this IT spend leaves the local economy, often going offshore. The net result: Chicago’s technology ecosystem only produces training and jobs for some and the positive impacts of the tech economy fails to reach diverse and vulnerable communities. Xchange brings those dollars back – through a unique combination of workforce development and neighborhood revitalization efforts.

Xchange brings employers, training partners, and community resources together to realize a scalable, innovative program that can fundamentally and forever change the demographics of Chicagoland’s IT workforce. It’s simple: partner with quality MBE IT suppliers who can earn competitive contracts with companies looking to in-source some of their IT spend and use those employer contracts to train apprentices and create jobs that serve local communities.

Join Xchange, and together we can create an equitable, vibrant and inclusive economy.

Big Goals, Bigger Impact

Xchange leverages a small portion of the $40B spent annually on technology services by Chicago corporations, specifically to drive youth employment and neighborhood revitalization. Xchange is built to fast-track IT apprenticeships through to full-time employment. At scale, Xchange will significantly impact the demographics of Chicago’s IT workforce:


people trained on Chicago’s South and West Sides


high-paying jobs/careers in IT, and other ancillary jobs created in South and West side neighborhoods of Chicago


Dollars in IT spend in the Chicago economy, driving local wages earned in Chicago to further grow Chicago businesses


How the Xchange Program Works:

  • Xchange prime contractor SDI engages leading Chicago corporations to carve out planned IT budget spend that best fits the Xchange program – reshoring managed services support and multi-year enterprise IT deployments and IT infrastructure project work are examples.
  • SDI onboards pre-trained apprentices from the City Colleges of Chicago and smaller, vetted MBE firms to work under SDI project management throughout the engagement.
  • SDI manages and mentors the apprentices and MBE firms: they receive mentoring and on-the-job and resume-building experience; and our Xchange partners – P33 and the Comer Foundation – provide wrap-around services to ensure success as apprentices embark on their new career path in IT.
  • When apprentices complete the assigned project, our Xchange corporate clients have the option to hire them directly to fill their tech talent pipeline, or they stay on as full-time SDI employees, moving forward in their IT career.

Xchange Achieves a Triple Bottom Line

Xchange achieves a Triple Bottom Line across the City of Chicago, its corporations, our future IT workforce and Chicago’s talented MBEs – and keeps Corporate Chicago’s IT spend within the local economy:

Diverse IT Workforce Development

In partnership with SDI, the City Colleges of Chicago, P33, and the Comer Foundation, Xchange apprentices earn and learn their way to a well-paying IT career – and Chicago corporations add local and diverse talent to their recruiting pipeline.

Diverse Partners

Led and mentored by Corporate Plus/NMSDC MBE-certified SDI Presence, smaller, local Chicago MBEs grow and build their resumes, and Chicago corporations inject more diverse spend in their supply chain.

Revitalizing Diverse Communities

Chicago’s Southside Grand Crossings neighborhood will be revitalized as SDI invests in building out its next IT Managed Services call center there, acting as an anchor tenant while offering local jobs for residents.

Take Action with Xchange

Are you a leading corporation that can benefit from a strong apprentice program?


Are you a certified MBE looking to maximize your procurement opportunities?


Are you a student looking for an opportunity to learn and grow?


SDI Impact:
Empowering the IT Workforce of Tomorrow