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Sep 23, 2021 By IIDA HQ
IIDA's Design Your World
Giving agency to high school students and introducing new career paths, Design Your World is an education pipeline program designed to make the industry more accessible, inclusive, and diverse. Find out how you can be involved!
By IIDA HQ Sep 23, 2021
Published in

IIDA’s Design Your World (DYW) gives agency to high school students and opens the door to new career paths, empowering them to consider and pursue becoming a designer or work in one of the many other facets of the industry—to take control of their world and build a better one for themselves and others. DYW is an education pipeline program developed over several years by IIDA to support the Association's continued mission of making design accessible, inclusive, and diverse.

The Program

Launching in July 2020, the pilot program was made possible in partnership with the Chicago-based non-profit organization After School Matters, with support from presenting sponsor OFS, and 3form, Mannington Commercial, and Configura.

A significant initiative for IIDA and the design industry at large, the six-week program was led by Ciera C. Payton, Assoc. IIDA, a senior interior designer who holds degrees in architecture from Florida A&M University and an MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design. The well-rounded commercial design curriculum covered topics such as material selection, color theory, creating space plans, as well as working with various types of design firms and sectors.

“Our goal is to demonstrate that design is accessible to all, both as a career and as a necessary component of life. We are honored to partner with After School Matters to help bridge the disparities BIPOC students face when determining their education and career path. It is our responsibility to form a new archetype for these students—one that illuminates the value of design as a profession and provides a deeper understanding and appreciation for the built environment.”
Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, and Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA
Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, and Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA
IIDA Design Your World students touring showrooms in theMart, image courtesy of Designvox.
IIDA Design Your World students touring showrooms in theMart, image courtesy of Designvox.
IIDA Design Your World students touring showrooms in theMart, image courtesy of Designvox.
IIDA Design Your World students touring showrooms in theMart, image courtesy of Designvox.

Looking Ahead

With the successful completion of the pilot program, our focus is now on expanding the IIDA Design Your World program across North America, starting with the return of DYW to Chicago in 2022 and expansion to one to two new markets. Markets currently under consideration for program expansion include: Atlanta, Austin, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C.

Get Involved!

It is our mission to advocate for the value of design, and that includes giving agency and access to underrepresented peoples through the built environment and power of place, and by sharing what careers are available and possible in the industry.

Be a leader, be a change-maker, and help us expand Design Your World through financial support of the program regardless of your role in the industry—as a firm, individual, manufacturer, dealer, or other. Please contact Tracey Thomas, director of strategic sales, at tthomas@iida.org to find out how you can get involved and support the expansion of Design Your World. Or click here to become a “Friend of Design Your World” through a personal financial contribution.

Our Partners and Sponsors

Program Partner:

After School Matters
provides Chicago high school teens with high quality, after-school and summer opportunities to explore and develop their talents while gaining critical skills for work, college and beyond. Since 1991, After School Matters has offered more than 350,000 opportunities to teens, helping them gain valuable knowledge and skills which have helped them discover their passion in life. Programs are currently taking place remotely, though typically take place at locations throughout the city including Chicago public high schools, Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Library locations, community organizations, downtown at the Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, in Belmont Cragin at our Michael and Karyn Lutz Center for After School Matters and at our new After School Matters at Gately Park space.

Presenting Sponsor:

is a family-owned contract furniture manufacturer dedicated to crafting experiences and products that contribute to places where people want to be. Founded in 1937, OFS provides furniture and logistics solutions for office, healthcare, education, lifestyle, hospitality, government, and home office markets worldwide, offering seating, tables, casegoods, and open plan products. The brands, Carolina and Bryan Ashley are OFS companies. OFS is based in Huntingburg, Indiana.

Supporting Sponsors:

3form is a design-driven materials solutions company offering breakthrough sustainable products that help bring projects to life. Their approach promotes craftsmanship, community, sustainability, and respect for the environments where we work and live. 3form’s product portfolio ranges from simple resin and glass materials to sophisticated solutions.

Mannington Commercial
crafts flooring with purpose. The company offers a full range of products designed to inspire creativity and deliver advanced performance in all types of commercial spaces. Across modular carpet, broadloom, LVT, resilient sheet and rubber, customers receive coordinated solutions to meet their specific goals. The fifth generation, family-owned company is guided by this dedication to its customers and to making a positive impact on the environment and local communities.

creates intelligent space-planning software for manufacturers, dealers and designers in the Contract Furniture, Kitchen and Bath, Material Handling, Industrial Machinery, and Laboratory and Healthcare industries. The company’s software products, including CET Designer, are used by more than 12,000 people around the world. Configura Sverige AB, the parent company, is headquartered in Linköping, Sweden, with commercial operations in Gothenburg, Sweden; Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Shenzhen, China. Founded in 1990, Configura is privately owned with over 200 employees worldwide and annual sales of more than $18 million USD.


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