Illinois Unveils Mobile App to Help Students Make Career Choices

IL Reality Check was developed as part of a partnership between the state’s Department of Employment Security and the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology.

by Jason Nevel, The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill. / January 19, 2017

(TNS) — State officials are hoping to make it easier for students and job-seekers to make a career choice in Illinois through a new mobile app.

The new app, IL Reality Check, was unveiled Wednesday at Southeast High School.

The app was developed as part of a partnership between the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology.

Jeff Mays, director for IDES, said the app helps people determine how much money they need to earn per month to cover expenses, and then matches occupations that will support the desired lifestyle.

For example, he said, the app can tell people how much a registered nurse can earn on average in Springfield, Belleville and Chicago using employment information collected by the Department of Employment Security.

"You select all the major categories, and it tallies up the lifestyle you want and shows how much you got to make to keep that lifestyle," Mays said.

A group of Southeast students tested out the app on Wednesday.

Senior Mariah Brooks said she's interested in living in Chicago and the app gave her a better idea of how much she'll need to earn.

What she also liked about the app was that it encourages young people to think about their future.

"I don't think we talk enough in school about that," Brooks said.

Hardick Bhatt, Illinois CIO and secretary-designate for the Department of Innovation and Technology, said the Reality Check app is part of a modernization effort in state government.

When the agency was created 18 months ago, he said, the state's ability to provide mobile interaction was less than 5 percent.

"Everything with state government was on a website that you had to go to and find something," Bhatt said. "The first device people now move toward is their phone, and we didn't have the capability to give you that interaction."

Reality Check can be downloaded at the Android and Apple apps stores by searching Illinois Reality Check.

©2017 The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill.. Visit The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill. at www.sj-r.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
 

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