Struck's passion for the public sector led him to explore the Data Analytics Credential program at Harris.
Headshot of Joe Struck
Joe Struck

Born and raised in the Chicago area, Joe Struck is determined to make Chicago a better place for all its residents through more equitable education and crime policy. “There are issues in Chicago with getting enough funds for public schools, so I’ve become very passionate about education policy at the local level. Violence has also risen throughout the country over the past few years, and Chicago has been impacted dramatically. I want to help make the streets safer for kids growing up.” 

To equip himself with the skills to tackle the various policy problems he hopes to address, Struck completed the Data Analytics Credential. “Through the program, I’ve learned how valuable it is to be able to sift large amounts of data to make evidence-based conclusions.”

After completing his bachelor’s in journalism at Columbia College in Chicago, Struck took on a role at State Farm as a Sales Representative in 2011. He was quickly promoted to a Team Leader and Manager role, which involves training new sales representatives and ensuring that specific office and sales goals are met. 

Although his demanding role keeps him busy through the workday, Struck uses his time outside of work to stay involved in his community through various local organizations. He currently acts as the treasurer for Heart of Lincoln Square (HOLS) Neighborhood Association, which analyzes the impact of new development proposals. Struck is also a member of the Participatory Budgeting Committee for the 40th Ward of Chicago, which reviews usage of the City of Chicago budgets and works to involve the community more in the decision-making process. 

“My passion for the public sector comes from wanting to make a difference through local, state, and federal electoral politics. I’ve worked on everything from alderman and state representative campaigns to making phone calls to get out the vote during presidential elections,” Struck said. He was even selected to run for an open seat senate race for Illinois’ 7th District in early 2021.

In 2019, Struck earned his Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) at the University of Illinois at Chicago with a focus on urban governance. Even after completing the degree, Struck felt like he wanted a better understanding of data analysis. “We were introduced to data analysis in the MPA, but I wanted to know more beyond the basic introduction in the course. So I looked around for a part-time program.” 

Like many others that elect to pursue Harris’ Credential Programs, the manageable commitment was an attractive option for Struck given his full-time job. “The time commitment was reasonable, and the program was also very flexible. And this was the only program I found that was really focused on policy specifically, which was a huge draw for me as someone who is passionate about the public sector.”

Struck says the Data Analytics Credential was especially helpful because it taught him skills that are used in real-world contexts. “The program is very hands-on—it mimics what a lot of people are doing in more policy-related roles. I can certainly see myself using the skills I’ve learned later on in the public sector.” 

Beyond simply learning to code, Struck appreciates that the program taught him the importance of methods and procedures when analyzing data. “We have so much data available to us now, so we can keep reaching better outcomes. Being able to parse good from bad data will help me make the greatest impact in the city I call home."