IBM EdTech Youth Challenge

Learn new technologies. Look after our world. And make a difference for Chicago.

Clean air. Water quality. Biodiversity loss. Access to outdoor recreation. These are some of the critical environmental issues that concern and impact young adults in the Chicago Metro area today. It’s time to use technologies to help solve them.

Teams of students, aged 18-25, enrolled in a Chicago Metro college will have the opportunity to think about one of these environmental sustainability problems and then design possible solutions to these issues through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud.

The winning team will have a virtual 2 week-long internship with experts from IBM and our partners to implement their solutions.

Register your team for the IBM EdTech Challenge by June 1


Challenge Partner


  • Form teams of 2-5 individuals to design a solution concept that addresses one of the environmental issues (Clean air, water quality, biodiversity loss, and access to outdoor recreation) using IBM technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Cloud. Team members must be enrolled in a 2- or 4-year college (full or part-time) in the Chicago Metro area and be between the ages of 18-25.
  • Register for the Challenge and gain access to online resources including virtual mentoring sessions with IBM, WHC and partners. Deadline for registration is June 1, 2021 (see Key Dates below).
  • Work on and submit your solution concept to the IBM EdTech Youth Challenge for judging (see Key Dates below).
  • April 1, 2021  |  Competition launch and registration opens.
  • April 1, 2021  |  Exploration, design, and building projects begins.
  • June 1, 2021 |  Registration closes.
  • June 15, 2021 |  Initial virtual design session: IBM and Challenge partners will help teams come up with an initial idea and work through the steps they will need to refine the idea and turn it into a submission.
  • July 15, 2021 |  Purpose virtual summit: IBM and partners will touch base with teams to ensure they will meet the submission deadline and check in on clarity and effectiveness of project.
  • August 13, 2021 |  Submission deadline.
  • September 3, 2021  |  Four semi-finalist teams announced.
  • September 10, 2021 |  Virtual design workshop for semi-finalist teams, final team presentations, judging, and awards ceremony.
  • September 17 – October 1, 2021 | Virtual internship with IBM and Exelon Corporation.

The winning team will have a virtual 2 week-long internship experience with experts from IBM and Exelon Corporation to implement their solutions.

Air quality

Chicago is the 18th most polluted city in the United States. Air pollution can increase the risk of chronic illnesses like heart and lung diseases and contribute to worse outcomes for people living with certain health conditions.

Resource article

Water quality

In recent years, concerns about lead contamination in the water supply in the Chicago area has resurfaced as an important environmental issue. Other issues facing the community’s water quality include plastic pollution in waterways, sewer overflow and regional flooding.

Resource article

Biodiversity loss

Urbanization, invasive species and other disturbances have caused habitat loss and contributed to population declines of many plant and animals including bird species and pollinators. How can this loss be reversed in the Chicago Metro area?

Resource article

Access to outdoor recreation

Benefits of outdoor recreation on physical and mental health and overall well-being are broadly established. Unfortunately, in Chicago, like many urban areas, disinvestment in neighborhoods spills over into green spaces, which are then often poorly maintained or nonexistent.

Resource article


Artificial intelligence enables computers and machines to mimic the perception, learning, problem-solving, and decision-making capabilities of the human mind.

Learn more


Cloud computing is on-demand access, via the internet, to computing resources—applications, servers, data storage, and more—hosted at a remote data center managed by a cloud services provider (or CSP).

Learn more

We understand that AI and Cloud are broad topics.  If you are interested in honing your proposal to a more specific technology, you can learn about the following, in addition to the core competencies above.

WHC is proud to partner with IBM for the Chicago Metro IBM EdTech Youth Challenge. For more information contact Rebecca Silvey  |  |  240.247.0903