DCEDC Added-Value Member Available with NIU College of Business


The Northern Illinois University College of Business and DeKalb County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) is pleased to announce the continuation of a joint program to improve member access to cost-effective, professional human resources. The IGNITE! Program provides a structure for member companies to connect with and employ NIU Business students part-time and subsidizes student compensation for up to five DCEDC member companies, local start-ups, and local non-profits.

The NIU College of Business has over 2,000 undergraduate students studying Accountancy, Business Administration, Finance, Management, Marketing, and Operations Management & Information Systems.  Over seventy-five percent of NIU Business students live in DeKalb County during the school year and nearly sixty percent work anywhere from one to 40 hours a week. Most students are in jobs that do not meaningfully contribute to their professional growth. The NIU Business students are an untapped resource for DCEDC member companies. At the same time, DCEDC member companies are not an instinctual source of work for NIU Business students.  The IGNITE! Program changes this dynamic.

How it works:

To participate in the IGNITE! Program, DCEDC member companies must have a recorded 2021 Pledge or Payment with DCEDC. Member companies may then submit an online proposal for a year-long, part-time (no more than 20 hours per week) position at go.niu.edu/ignite.  Positions must include clear goals and defined professional responsibilities, projects and developmental opportunities, and general expectations.  The proposal deadline is June 15, 2021.

A committee will choose five proposals from DCEDC member companies, local start-ups, and local non-profit organizations for funding.  Students will be paid $11 per hour. The NIU College of Business will subsidize student payment at a rate of $10.25/hour. The hiring organization will contribute $500 to support student wages or pay the student $0.75 per hour directly. The hiring organization will also provide development opportunities to the student.

Selected organizations must assist in promoting their opportunity to students through the NIU job board and a virtual information session in early August. The selected organizations will be responsible for interviewing, hiring, onboarding, training, and management of the student. The period of employment is August 23, 2020-May 14, 2022.

The enclosed FAQ includes program specifics and impact. IGNITE FAQ 21-22

The NIU College of Business and DCEDC share a similar goal: To strengthen public/private partnerships to for the purpose of economic growth and diversification.  The IGNITE Program is an important step toward achieving this goal.


Balalji Rajagopalan, Ph.D.                                                                                        Paul Borek

Dean, NIU College of Business                                                                                Executive Director, DCEDC