Guild for Employers

All about Guild

Guild is a one-week Break Through Tech Chicago program that introduces college women to computer science. Participants use their creativity and develop tech skills to solve a real-world problem, with guidance along the way from industry professionals.

Winter Guild is typically offered in early January. Summer Guild is typically offered in mid-August. These are times when college students are between semesters and more likely to have a full week available to participate in a 9-to-5 program.

The goal of Guild is to provide an introductory tech experience around a relatable problem that students might be facing in their own communities. We explore the problem, brainstorm solutions, and then, most importantly, help students to see how those solutions can be achieved with technology.

Our next Guild will be held in August 2021.

We are now accepting expressions of interest from organizations that would like to advance diversity in tech by providing staff volunteers for Summer Guild 2021. The FAQ below will give you a sense of what is required. Interested? Email Amita Shetty, director of Break Through Tech Chicago, at

Guild FAQ for organizations

What role can your organization play?

We are looking for partner-organization volunteers who hold technical roles and have an understanding of software development. This is an excellent opportunity to work directly with college women who are interested in learning more about technology.

Volunteers are asked to give about 5 hours of their time across the five days the program runs. This usually is divided up into three blocks of 1.5 to 2 hours each, to make the experience manageable within each volunteer’s workday. 

We need up to 8 volunteers to sponsor each Guild class, along with a company point of contact who will arrange your volunteers to match the program schedule. There are three concurrent classes, should your company want to sponsor more than one. No special skills are required.

Who are Guild participants?

Students who participate in Guild are in their first or second year at UIC or a community college in the greater Chicago area. They may have no prior experience with computer science.

How does the program work?

We engage participants by giving them the design-thinking skills they need to approach a challenging social issue that has significance to them. Volunteers can inspire our participants by helping them to see ways to solve seemingly intractable problems through technology.

What kind of expertise do Guild volunteers need?

Guild volunteers utilize their technical backgrounds and experience — whatever those may be — to benefit Guild students. Their actual areas of expertise will vary from person to person.

Volunteers do not need to know the specific programming language we are using in Guild to be effective mentors to the students. In addition, volunteers do not need to know anything about the social or community issue that students are problem-solving in Guild. The instructors who teach Guild will have the knowledge needed to foster problem-solving and design thinking on the social issue at hand. 

Is there a financial obligation for Guild-sponsoring organizations?

There is no financial obligation for Guild partners. Sponsoring a Guild allows your company to contribute the gifts of time and expertise.

Are there other ways besides Guild to be involved?

Yes! Break Through Tech Chicago also works with area organizations to offer Sprinternships, micro-internship experiences that last three weeks. For more information about welcoming a Sprintern for our next cycle contact Amita Shetty, director Break Through Tech Chicago, at

Current program links