Best Buy and Chicago City of Learning Team Up to Close the Teen Technology Gap
Best Buy Sponsorship Helps Give Chicago Teens Opportunities to Develop Tech Skills

The Chicago City of Learning (CCOL) has partnered with Best Buy to support programs that use technology to inspire young people to build 21st-century skills and help them prepare for college and future careers.

The CCOL initiative offers thousands of after-school and summer programs through partner organizations citywide, designed to challenge youth to engage in new ways of learning. Hands-on projects allow children and teens to work with everything from traditional craft materials to state-of-the-art technology. Hundreds of online activities are also available at

As a lead sponsor, Best Buy will offer Geek Squad Academy workshops to several participating CCOL outlets to teach Chicago’s youth about the latest technology. Through this program, Geek Squad Agents and Best Buy Blue Shirts engage young people through fun, interactive classes and activities such as robotics, 3D printing, and audio and video production.

“The Chicago City of Learning program continues to engage our kids, opening the doors to a variety of learning opportunities across the city,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who yesterday toured the Best Buy Geek Squad Academy at Little Black Pearl on Chicago south side. “The additional resources provided by Best Buy’s Geek Squad Academy will allow Chicago’s youth to explore a future in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields. This will help prepare our children with the skills and education they need for college and a successful career.”

CCOL is a citywide, year-round program that sees all of Chicago as a classroom – with endless opportunities to learn new skills, discover passions and build pathways to further education and careers. Digital badges offered through CCOL recognize learning across programs in the initiative – whether at a park, museum, library or online course – giving learners a digital portfolio that communicates the skills they have developed.

“For the families of young Chicagoans, CCOL is a significant resource. No matter what the interest, Chicago has it,” said Nicole Pinkard of Digital Youth Network at DePaul University, which leads CCOL along with the city of Chicago. “As youth explore what our great city has to offer, we are excited to partner with Best Buy to provide technology education opportunities for Chicago youth.”

Best Buy is dedicated to helping teens develop the technology skills that will inspire future education and career choices. Best Buy operates eight Teen Tech Centers around the country and will host nearly 30 Geek Squad Academy workshops this summer and fall, as just two examples of that commitment.

Best Buy’s Geek Squad will also be at Destination: Chicago – Summer Showcase, where they will provide condensed versions of some of their workshops. They will be providing these workshops to CCOL youth at other events throughout the year.

CCOL is led by the City of Chicago Digital Youth Network at DePaul University, and it continues to be supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

More information on the Chicago City of Learning can be found at