The Alliance Labs is a top digital agency in Chicago.

The Alliance Labs is an educational institute that teaches and trains workers.

The Alliance Labs is an organization that seeks to change the lives of young adults who have overcome adversity for the opportunity to change their future.

How did such a versatile organization come to be?

The Alliance Labs was founded in 2015 by Jon Schickedanz, a 15-year sales veteran and skilled connector with a vast network of individuals working in the creative industries. Jon launched a project in 2011 with the goals of bringing these professionals together. The nonprofit was call Alliance of Creative Professionals (ACP), and at its peak it boasted more than 350 members willing to lend their marketing skills to organizations across the Midwest.

It was through this network that ACP became involved with another organization called i.c. stars. I.c. stars provides low-income adults with rigorous technology-based workforce and leadership training, and connects the students with career opportunities. Jon became a mentor for i.c. stars students, even teaching workshops and connecting students with potential jobs.

The partnership was a success, and students who completed their i.c. stars training were working with ACP to perform entry-level work on client projects. A more formalized educational program was developed by co-founder Andrew Hicks, director of education for The Alliance Labs, and officially launched in 2015.

Today, The Alliance Labs accepts a limited number of i.c. stars graduates to enter its “resident” program modeled after a trade school: educate, train, employ. As a high-profile digital agency in Chicago with a vast pool of award-winning talent, The Alliance Labs works with Fortune 5000 companies as a cost-effective digital development and execution production partner for online communications, advertising and marketing content. Program residents gain real-world experience working side-by-side with creative professionals in technical projects that directly impact their portfolio and their career.