CHICAGO, June 11 -- At least 23,000 alumni of Illinois independent colleges and universities are working for 145 top employers throughout the state, according to findings from a three-month research project conducted by Associated Colleges of Illinois (ACI). ACI is a Chicago-based nonprofit that serves 27 independent higher education institutions.CHICAGO

The statistics were compiled from LinkedIn profiles by students working in ACI's micro-internship program. The data include how many students from each member institution are employed at each of the 145 companies.

"Much has been written about Illinois students leaving the state to attend college," said Mick Weltman, ACI executive director. "We focused on students who stay in Illinois an...