Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has declared that April is Information Technology Month as part of a larger effort to bring attention to the state's efforts and build its professional workforce.
The declaration, officially signed Jan. 26, notes the importance of an industry that has grown within the state by an estimated 5.3 percent annually. By the same figures, almost a quarter of a million people are currently employed in tech-related fields throughout the state.
And the technology sector is expected to grow within the next eight years, according to state numbers, by as many as 30,000 jobs.
The state’s focus on becoming the first smart state, through the implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) and other leading-edge technologies, will likely be a contributing factor to that growth.
In just the last few weeks, Rauner has taken steps to further solidify the state’s technology backbone with a more unified plan for cybersecurity.
On March 21, the governor and CIO Hardik Bhatt outlined an extensive five-point cybersecurity road map focused on protecting systems, reducing risk, strengthening cybersecurity capabilities, building an enterprise approach and extending efforts outward for holistic security.
Officials have also made substantial efforts to consolidate and strengthen the state’s own systems, including the ERP and looking to the potential uses of less mainstream technologies, like artificial intelligence and cognitive computing.
Bhatt, as a representative of the state, is also involved in a memorandum of understanding with Telangana, India, to share and information and create an open and constructive multi-national dialog.
In line with the governor’s proclamation, organizations like Creating IT Futures, a nonprofit established by trade association CompTIA, has lined up a number of career-focused events over the course of the month.