SBA Announces Landmark Collaboration with Historically Black Fraternities and Sororities to Address Wealth Gaps Through Black Entrepreneurship

First of its Kind Agreement That Will Focus on Improving Financial Literacy, Outreach, and Capital Access Opportunities Across Communities

WASHINGTON – This week, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice for America’s 32.5 million small businesses in President Biden’s Cabinet, signed a Strategic Alliance Memorandum (SAM)–an authority unique to the SBA among federal agencies–with President Reuben A. Shelton III, Esq., on behalf of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)’s Council of Presidents, comprised of nine historically Black fraternities and sororities, sometimes referred to as the “Divine Nine.”

“This historic alliance between the SBA and the NPHC—the first of its kind for a government agency—will bring SBA’s valuable small business resources into reach for many small businesses and entrepreneurs, furthering the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to build equity and close historic wealth gaps that have held back America’s Black entrepreneurs, small business owners and their families and communities for generations,” said Administrator Guzman. “Over the past 18 months, the SBA has made incredible progress reaching more of America’s small businesses, delivering vital resources and support to entrepreneurs who have been historically underinvested in and overlooked—the same people and communities hit hardest by the COVID pandemic. Working alongside partners and allies within the Divine Nine will provide even greater reach for the SBA to better provide the highly entrepreneurial Black community access to networks, financial literacy, technical training, and capital readiness so they can successfully realize their American Dreams of business ownership, create jobs, and advance our economy.”

Announced in the leadup to Juneteenth, this new strategic alliance advances the SBA’s implementation of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to building equity throughout the federal government and across America. Under the new alliance, a unique agreement for a federal government agency, the partnership will focus on increasing financial literacy within traditionally underserved, disadvantaged communities, expanding the Agency’s outreach, and introducing Black entrepreneurs to the SBA’s suite of tools and resources to start and grow their businesses including access to capital, government contracting opportunities and counseling.

Reuben A. Shelton III, Esq., Chairman of the Council of Presidents of the National Pan-Hellenic Council and Grand Polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., added: “The National Pan Hellenic Council and its affiliate organizations are very excited about this opportunity with the U.S. Small Business Administration. This collaboration will give NPHC members critical access to information that will promote small business growth and create jobs in all sectors of our economy.”

Wanda Smith (standing, second from left) of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., is a founding member of BDPA’s Temple University Student Chapter. She joins SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman (seated left) and other Zeta Phi Beta sorors during signing ceremonies. — SBA photo.

Often represented on thousands of university campuses, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), with members in leadership roles across civic and business organizations and the faith community, the NPHC boasts over 2.5 million active members and scores of alumni members. Taken together, this group of engaged leaders is a critical ally in helping building trust within key communities and introducing small business owners to critical resources to bolster their business outcomes as we seek to close the wealth gap. The NPHC represents the following organizations:

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
  • Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.
  • Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.
     

The SBA Has Deepened its Engagement and Support of African American, Black and Historically Disadvantaged Small Business Owners.

In line with the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda outlined in the recently released SBA Equity Action Plan, the SBA has instituted several major changes to level the playing field for all small businesses, including making impactful reforms to the Community Advantage (CA) Pilot loan program that prioritizes equitable access to capital for low-income borrowers and those from underserved communities, releasing disaggregated data across industries and sectors by race and ethnicity and helping to deliver contracting reforms to bring in new, diverse contractors, and launching the American Rescue Plan’s $100 million Community Navigators program.

In addition, the SBA has expanded the number of Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) it supports to 146 – the largest WBC network in the history of the SBA. Notably, this investment under Administrator Guzman signifies the tripling of WBCs at HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Since March 2021, the complete listing of WBCs housed on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) now includes:

  • Miles College, Fairfield, Alabama
  • Savannah State University, Savannah, Georgia
  • Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland
  • Bowie State University, Bowie, Maryland
  • Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi
  • Alcorn State University, Lorman, Mississippi
  • Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Winston-Salem State University, Winston Salem, North Carolina
  • Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina
  • Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia
     
(L-R) Norman Mays, Founder, BDPA Washington, D.C. and Carl Brown, Executive Director, DCSBDC, attend 40th anniversary award ceremonies for National BDPA’s Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter at Howard University’s Armour J. Blackburn University Center. DCSBDC’s program is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and Howard University.  BDPA-DC photo by Pat McDugall © 2018 bdpatoday

SBA remains committed to increasing capital for small businesses, including those in underserved communities. This means ensuring entrepreneurs have access to capital, standard and disaster lending programs, and PPP direct forgiveness as well as assistance in  growing their revenues by getting their products online or into global markets and accessing federal contracting opportunities, often by connecting them to one of the Agency’s newly launched Community Navigators, hundreds of Field Offices, or thousands of Resource Partners – including Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), Women’s Business Centers, SCORE chapters, and Veterans Business Ownership Centers – for mentoring, training, and assistance in navigating government resources.

Source and photos: SBA and BDPA-DC


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AFIT HBCU DLS 22

Octo Holds Grand Opening of oLabs™ Innovation Hub

Octo celebrated its expanded oLabs™ innovation space with a grand opening attended by Senator Mark Warner and other notable VIPs committed to serving the Federal Government.

RESTON, VA—Octo, the premier provider of emerging technology and modernization for the Federal Government, yesterday celebrated the grand opening of its new oLabs™ innovation hub. Housed in a brand new, custom-built 14,000 square foot facility at Octo’s headquarters in Reston, Virginia, oLabs is the largest privately-owned R&D facility in the DC metro area dedicated to the Federal Government.

Octo invested more than $10 million in the expansion of oLabs which now offers an enormous amount of highly sophisticated compute power including more than 15 petaflops of AI compute and 2 petabytes of FlashBlade storage among others. In addition to the many new development tools for specialized R&D and a space purpose built to facilitate collaboration between Octo’s staff and its federal customers, oLabs will be a hub for internal collaboration and product development focused on solving federal agencies’ most complex issues.

In his comments to attendees, U.S. Senator Mark Warner said, “Innovation isn’t all happening in the Valley. It’s happening in the DMV.” He said he was excited about Octo as a mid-size GovCon company inviting other companies to work side by side on innovation. “We appreciate all Octo does helping the Federal Government.”

U.S. Senator Mark Warner and Octo CEO Mehul Sanghani address VIPs and attendees during Octo’s oLabs ribbon-cutting ceremonies in Reston, VA. — BDPA NoVA photo © 2022 bdpatoday

Octo’s CEO Mehul Sanghani said, “We are ecstatic to see the official launch of this new space and all that it offers. Octo is dedicated to finding the best solutions for customers, those that make missions happen. That can only be accomplished with powerful technology resources and a commitment to R&D. Using next-gen IT and a collaborative approach, oLabs is accelerating and validating proof-of-concepts to create transformative solutions that can’t be found anywhere else in the region. This space allows us to be in alignment with our customers future goals, and also gives us a competitive advantage over our peers.”

Sujey Edward, CTO at Octo, said, “At the end of the day, you can’t solve the hardest problems in the world without three things: the best technical talent, real world experience, and next generation technology. In this space we have all three. Anything less than that is just a glorified conference room.

“Octo has invested millions of independent research and development dollars into building oLabs, the industry’s most capable center for innovation. We’ve also perfected a collaborative approach to working with our customers supported by an extraordinary facility full of exceptionally talented and passionate emerging technology professionals. Our team isn’t just technical. They have relevant real-world experience in our core domains also. They are former special operators, data scientists pulled from some of the largest companies around the world, DevOps engineers, and AI/ML engineers who understand the scenarios in which our solutions will be deployed.”

oLabs products and solutions are used and are in testing by customers including the U.S. Army, Marine Corps Special Operations Command, the U.S. Navy, and others. Customers who could not attend the grand opening are invited to tour the space. Learn more at olabs.octo.us.

Octo, Platinum Sponsor of national BDPA’s Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter, is a technology firm dedicated to solving the Federal Government’s most complex challenges, enabling agencies to jump the technology curve. We don’t just modernize. We create lasting change through best practices that help agencies implement and integrate at-scale next-generation technology and innovation. With a mission and service first mentality, we provide Agile, DevSecOps, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Blockchain, Cloud, Open Source, and Data Science solutions, collaborating to solve customers’ pressing problems. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, Octo delivers proven technology vital to the intelligence community and health care, defense, national security, and civilian agencies that directly impact our nation.

— Source: Octo/Business Wire


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Octo
https://www.octoconsulting.com/

State Legislative Bodies Advance Computer Science and Technology bills for High School Graduation and new Workforce STEM Requirements

NASHVILLE, TN—Tennessee’s General Assembly reconvened January 11, 2022 and on April 14, 2022 the Tennessee Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 2406 (SB 2406) requiring their Department of Education (DOE) to adopt standards for computer science education by the 2023-2024 school year. Under the new bill, by the 2024-2025 school year all high school students in Tennessee would be required to take a full year of computer science education in order to graduate and middle schoolers would have to take at least one computer science course.

CodeCrew Code School helps connect families and young adults in Memphis, TN.
Photo courtesy: CodeCrew Memphis

SB 2406 and its companion bill in the Tennessee House of Representatives, HB 2153, stipulates Tennessee [DOE] will provide in-person and online computer science courses for public school students at no charge by the start of the 2023-24 school year. To this end, DOE would also provide a computer science education professional development program at no cost to educators. Additionally, SB 2406/HB 2153 creates new computer science requirements and stronger academic standards for K-12 students with a requirement Tennessee schools implement these standards beginning in the 2024-25 school year when enacted.

BDPA Alumni and BDPA Memphis Chapter Student Members with (L-R) Bryce Ellis, Naim Hakeem, Kareem Dasilva, Judy Lane, Melaati Jayah, Jada Thorium Mykaila Johnson. Photo: BDPA Memphis

Nebraska Advances High School Computer Science and Technology Bill

Nebraska lawmakers also approved a bill last month to ensure students receive computer science and technology education prior to high school graduation. Introduced by Senator Terrell McKinney of Omaha, LB 1112 would require every public school district in Nebraska to include computer science and technology education within legacy instructional programs of its elementary and middle schools beginning in school year 2024-25.

Nebraska’s students would be required to complete at least one five-credit high school course in computer science and technology prior to graduation. These courses can be provided across traditional in-person classroom settings or blended learning environments.

Upskilling JROTC with STEM Education and Cybersecurity Training for Workforce Pipelines  

JROTC Cadets from Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. attending BDPA-DC’s annual Community Technology Awards. BDPA photo © 2019 by Roy Lewis

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2022, Public Law 117-81, authorized $187.6 million and modifies a grant program supporting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education in JROTC to include quantum information sciences. NDAA 2022 also requires the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) to submit to the Committees on Armed Services of the Senate (SASC) and the House of Representatives (HASC) a briefing on the status of the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs of each Armed Force. SECDEF’s briefing must include the following:

(1) an assessment of the current usage of the program, including the number of individuals enrolled in the program, the demographic information of individuals enrolled in the program, and the number of units established under the program

(2) a description of the efforts of the Armed Forces to meet current enrollment targets for the program

(3) If applicable, an explanation of the reasons such enrollment targets have not been met
(4) a description of any obstacles preventing the Armed Forces from meeting such enrollment targets

(5) a comparison of the potential benefits and drawbacks of expanding the program; and

(6) a description of program-wide diversity and inclusion recruitment and retention efforts

Tech Industry Certifications Before High School Graduation

In Virginia, the commonwealth’s  Board of Education has approved many exams for the purpose of awarding verified credit, specifically designated as “Student-Selected Verified Credit.” In Fairfax County, just outside of our Nation’s Capital, many  Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses prepare students for industry certification opportunities. Students who desire this professional credential must pass an industry-developed, industry evaluated exam at the end of the CTE course. Earning an industry credential demonstrates professional skill levels students and JROTC cadets have achieved while providing industry-recognized proof that students are prepared for career-related responsibilities or post-secondary education or training.

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) provides a broad range of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) opportunities and academic opportunities that support pathways to STEAM jobs and careers. In Fairfax County, and across the National Capital Region, the greatest job growth continues to come largely from STEAM-related professions.

Sources: Tennessee and Nebraska General Assemblies; FCPS; Code Crews; BDPA Memphis; and BDPA-DC. Cover photo credit: Charlie Perkins, National BDPA. BDPA Southern Minnesota Coding Team shown during National BDPA’s annual High School Computer Competition (HSCC).

FCEDA

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BDPA Co-Founder, IT Hall of Famer, and Tech Industry Legend Earl A. Pace, Jr. passes away at 79

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

By Norman Mays, Kenneth Wilson, and Sharrarne Morton, BDPA

Earl A. Pace, Jr.

National BDPA photo by Charlie Perkins

LARGO, MD (BDPA) – Earl A. Pace, Jr.,  a computer programmer trainee at the Pennsylvania Railroad who went on to become an entrepreneur, an iconic figure of civil rights in the tech industry, and a staunch proponent of technology inclusion initiatives, died February 19, 2022, after enduring a long illness his family said in a statement.  He was 79.

“All of us will miss his caring, his love and his sound wisdom as co-founder of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA). The date and details of a memorial service will be announced in the near future. Please keep us in your hearts and prayers.”

A distinguished alum of The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), Mr. Pace has been in the Information Technology (IT) industry since 1965. He left the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1967. Over the next decade he rose through the ranks of programmer, programmer analyst, programming manager, and on to Vice President of a financial telecommunications company in Philadelphia, PA. He became a business owner in 1976 when he incorporated Pace Data Systems, a full service information technology firm providing services and support through its Philadelphia, PA and Washington, D.C. offices primarily to banks and savings banks.

In 1975, Mr. Pace co-founded BDPA  in Philadelphia and operated as its president for two years.  In 1978 he coordinated the formation of BDPA into a national organization and functioned as its first National President until 1980. National BDPA has grown into one of the largest professional organizations representing minorities across the IT industry.  In 1992, the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF or BDPA Foundation) chaired by Mr. Pace, was founded to support the education and technical programs of BDPA. In 2011, Mr. Pace was the first IT Innovator honored during CompTIA’s IT Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Within BDPA and on a broader industrial scale, Mr. Pace was a vocal advocate for business ownership. His primary message since starting BDPA has always been minorities should strive to rise above just ‘getting a job’ while pursuing  ownership, operating their own businesses, and landing a position on a Corporate Board of Directors.

About BDPA

BDPA, formerly known as Black Data Processing Associates, is an international organization with a diverse membership of professionals and students at all levels in the fields of information technology, computer science, data science, and related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Founded in Philadelphia, PA in 1975, BDPA Members and BDPA Student Members remain actively engaged in serving their respective communities through technology inclusion programs and STEM outreach events while charting the futures of IT and digital inclusivity with Industry. 

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Contact

Norman Mays
216.310.2173
info@bdpatoday.org
Kenneth Wilson
216.773.0700
info@bdpatoday.org
Sharrarne Morton
240.463.6915
media@bdpadc.org

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

NEW RELEASEAmazon Prime
Order now!

This book was written to enrich lives. It is a story about helping people grow, build, and achieve greatness. The story of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) – a non-profit organization of African-American computer professionals growing, building, and achieving success together – is one of developing diverse talent and improving their career options in the Information Technology industry. BDPA was born in 1975 because its founders believed African Americans in particular were marginalized in the burgeoning field of data processing, known today as information technology (IT), STEM, and cyber.

Raymond Bell, Jr. Elected BDPA-DC President and Executive Committee Chair

WASHINGTON — Raymond Bell, Jr. has been elected to fill the vacancy of Vice President Business Management and President Elect for BDPA of Greater Washington, D.C. (BDPA-DC). Bell will assume President of BDPA-DC and Chair the Chapter’s Executive Committee on January 1, 2022.

Raymond Bell, Jr.He will succeed outgoing President and Chair, Perry Carter,

who supports Federal and DOD/IC portfolios for National BDPA.  Carter will expand his role in direct support of the Association’s Golden Anniversary Events in 2025, and National BDPA Local Chapter engagements in CONUS with JROTC Units, HBCU/MIs, and CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) Tech 2025 FED/SLED (state and local government and education) initiatives.

Bell is the founder of R. Emmanuel Bell Consulting, a training and facilitation company. Mr. Bell is a social entrepreneur, keynote speaker and facilitator. He is devoted to teaching and coaching young adults how to become I.T. professionals. Through his workshops, courses and coaching programs Bell shows young adults how to get out of  unemployment lines and onto rewarding career paths.

H.O.P.E. Project IT Summit 2019
H.O.P.E. Project IT Summit 2019

Bell’s passion is to empower young people to take ownership and control of their own destiny. In 2009 Bell founded The H.O.P.E. Project, also known as the “Harvard of the Hood”, an I.T. career training program. The H.O.P.E. Project has been called one of the best I.T. career training programs in the country by the President of the Help Desk Institute (HDI). Graduates earn an average annual salary of $62,500, working on major government contracts with prime contractors such as Lockheed Martin, World Bank, and CACI to name a few. To date, nearly forty H.O.P.E. Project graduates have accepted annual salaries at and north of $100,000.

Raymond Bell, Jr. is considered one of the leading experts in I.T. career training and workforce development in the United States. Mr. Bell has received numerous awards for his work including the a HDI Top 25 Thought Leader, BDPA-DC Member of the Year, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, and Nation Builder Award Recipient, for his outstanding work developing world class I.T. professionals.

HOPE Project DMV IT Summits and Community Info-Sessions

Bell launched hopeprojectonline in 2021 to help over 1,000 people launch new careers in Information Technology. Bell has been seen on and/or featured in Ebony, ABC, CBS, WHUR, NewOne Now, Bloomberg News, Washington Post, National Public Radio, National Journal, BET and many other media outlets. Bell will lead his new board alongside Sedley Randolph, who transitioned to the Chapter’s new Chief of Staff role. Randolph is a 2019 BDPA-DC President’s Community Technology Award recipient.

With BDPA-DC Chapter’s latest rounds of new impact funding from Microsoft and OCTO, Bell is recruiting more Veterans, professionals, students, and interns from the National Capital Region (DMV) to join and actively participate in new committees. He wants to offer more technical coaching, mentorship, training, and certification programs to meet and exceed emerging cybersecurity and “Smart City” requirements. Adjacent to BDPA-DC, National BDPA also seeks immediate growth and new members in Annapolis, MD; Baltimore, MD; Northern Virginia; Richmond, VA; and new BDPA Chapters collocated with regional HBCUs and MSIs.

Annual IT Summit
H.O.P.E. Project DC Annual IT Summit in Washington, D.C.

Nominations are now open to current or new BDPA-DC Members for the election of new officers and committee chairs for BDPA-DC’s FY22/FY23 board.  New BDPA-DC Members may apply for and join as full or student memberships through the Association’s portal at BDPA.org.  Current BDPA-DC Members may renew or update membership profiles for current NBDPA career opporiutntiies, industry news, and local events.

Annual Community Technology Awards with America’s 2019 National High School Computer Coding Competition team from Washington, D.C.

About BDPA

BDPA, formerly known as Black Data Processing Associates, was founded in Philadelphia, PA in 1975. Today, BDPA is an international organization with a remarkably diverse membership of professionals and students in the fields of information and communications technology (ICT), computer science, data science, and related S.T.E.M. fields. Local BDPA Chapters and BDPA Members are actively engaged in serving their respective communities through outreach engagements while charting the future of ICT industries.

BDPA Memphis Chapter with Bryce Ellis, Naim Hakeem, Kareem Dasilva, Judy Lane, Melaati Jayah, Jada Thorium and Mykaila Johnson.

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Association U.S., Canada, and Local Reference Links

BDPA – bdpa.org and BDPA-DC – BDPAdc.org

Youth Tech Programs and High School Coding Competitions – DCHSCC.org

Tablets For Teens – tabletsforteens.org

bdpatoday – bdpatoday.com

PTTV – populartechnology.tv

LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/bdpatoday

Archives – pinterest.com/bdpatoday

BDPA Launches Google Cloud Academy

LARGO, MD (NBDPA) — From BDPA’s annual National Conferences, BDPA Tech & Career Talks, and other methods of engagement, networking, and mentorship, this new program will provide special offerings for cloud engineering and architecture. National BDPA seeks to create the next generation of Black technology thought-leaders deeply interested in the cloud space through this virtual series alongside the 12-week Cloud Academy.

The BDPA Cloud Academy is a 12-week program that will provide 50 College Students and Early Career Professionals (ECPs) the opportunity to learn about key cloud computing and technology concepts, get hands on experience with leading software from the leading Cloud providers, and get some experience applying core cloud concepts and technology to use cases based on Real World Evidence and current industry problems/situations.

Upon “graduation” students receive a BDPA Cloud Associate certification with an Industry Specialization and will have the opportunity to get a Google Cloud Digital Leader certification. There will be post-academy Fireside Chats that will allow program graduates the opportunity to interface with industry leaders and discuss the future of technology, society, and innovation.

ECPs or new BDPA Members may directly register their interests for the Academy’s next sessions by using this interest form.

— Source and graphic: National BDPA
Top Photo: Google


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BDPA Mourns the passing of Henry E. Ford

HENRY E. FORD
Garfield Heights, Ohio
January 16, 1941 – September 8, 2021

GARFIELD HEIGHTS, OH (BDPA Cleveland)—During his 36 years employment and consulting with a world leader in the manufacture of earthmoving equipment, Henry Ford grew through the challenges of adapting to the corporate cultures of General Motors, White Motors, Daimler-Benz, Volvo, Clark Equipment Company, and Hitachi.

He survived many downsizings and reorganizations, and at retirement was retained as a long-term consultant. While still working, Henry began preparing for a second career, enrolling at Capital University, obtaining a degree in Business/Communications, and graduating magna cum laude.

An author, speaker, consultant and publisher of VISIONS Newsletter, Henry connected to audiences through personal examples, historical references and insightful vision. He inspired and challenged diverse audiences from the lectern, in his writings, and through inspirational messages shared around the world using the tools of Social Media, Internet Blogs and Opt-in Mailings.

A U.S, Army veteran, Henry’s community service included several years with REACT, helping insure safety on the nation’s highways; former board member of NAIC’s Northeast Ohio Council; a former Deputy Director of the 9th Street Project’s 1000 Churches Program, an initiative of Rainbow PUSH; and over 20 years of active involvement with National BDPA and BDPA’s Cleveland Chapter.

He was the recipient of the distinguished IEI award, Excellent Service in Education, Member of The Year BDPA-Cleveland, Achievement in Life, Bud Strong Achiever, and others. He has been recognized by the late author Alex Haley, five former members of Congress, and others. His work in Investment Education was acknowledged in the book, It’s About The Money. Henry also held an Insurance License in the State of Ohio. He was a member of the Mt. Zion Church of Oakwood Village. As a member of Eagles of Success International and People of Distinction Humanitarian Awards (PDHA), Henry continued his services to the community.

Henry’s e-books are available on Amazon.com and Kindle by visiting:
https://www.amazon.com/Henry-E.-Ford/e/B001KHB0TW .

Photos and bio courtesy the Ford Family

FCC To Launch $7.17 Billion Connectivity Fund Program

New Program Provides Funding to Schools and Libraries Critical to Closing the Homework Gap

WASHINGTON—The Federal Communications Commission unanimously adopted final rules to implement the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. This $7.17 billion program, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, will enable schools and libraries to purchase laptop and tablet computers, Wi-Fi hotspots, and broadband connectivity for students, school staff, and library patrons in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Far too often, students, teachers, and library patrons lack the access they need to broadband and connected devices. This need has become even more apparent during these unprecedented times,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, Acting Chairwoman of the FCC. “Between this Emergency Connectivity Fund Program and the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, we are investing more than $10 billion in American students and households. These investments will help more Americans access online education, healthcare, and employment resources. They will help close the Homework Gap for students nationwide and give so many more households the ability to connect, communicate, and more fully participate in modern life.”

The Report and Order adopted today establishes the rules and policies governing the Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. The new rules define eligible equipment and services, service locations, eligible uses, and reasonable support amounts for funding provided. It designates the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) as the program administrator with FCC oversight, and leverages the processes and structures used in the ERate program for the benefit of schools and libraries already familiar with the E-Rate program. It also adopts procedures to protect the limited funding from waste, fraud, and abuse.

Recent estimates suggest there may be as many as 17 million children struggling without the broadband access they need for remote learning. The Acting Chairwoman has long made closing the Homework Gap a priority during her tenure at the Commission.

— Source: Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Top photo: GettyImages


A D V E R T I S E M E N T

http://www.tabletsforteens.org

Vivian C. Wilson, National BDPA Matriarch and Past President, Passes Away at 77

From the Office of Earl A. Pace, Jr.National BDPA Co-Founder

It was with great sorrow that I received notice of the death of Vivian. Vivian was an incredibly special lady! I met Vivian through our membership in Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA), an organization created, in 1975, to prepare African American and other minority youth for careers in Information Technology and to affect the upward mobility of African Americans and other minorities already in the IT industry.

Vivian C. Wilson, National BDPA
Vivian C. Wilson

Vivian made an impact almost immediately upon joining BDPA and rose quickly to delivering that impact to the national level of the organization. In 1986, she received the first “Board of Directors National Outstanding Member of the Year”. Vivian was elected National Vice-President in 1987 and elevated to National President, by election, in 1989.

There have been 18 National Presidents of BDPA, eight have been women of color. Vivian was the 4th BDPA National President and the first female National President. Of all the past Presidents, I believe Vivian had the greatest impact on the organization! She had a way of making every member she met, her friend and part of the BDPA family. She introduced the “BDPA hug” that continues to be demonstrated to this day by the membership! The greatest increase in admitted BDPA Chapters occurred under Vivian’s presidency! She was organized and a true professional. After her 2 terms as president, Vivian and her developed team continued to contribute to BDPA by successfully organizing and conducting the organization’s Annual National Conferences until 1996.

Although not active in BDPA the past several years, there is no doubt that Vivian loved the organization and its objectives. It is also true that BDPA loved Vivian. ― bt

Cover photo courtesy National BDPA (L-R):
Denise Holland, Gina Billings, Milt Haines, George Williams, Diane Davis, Vivian Wilson, Norman Mays, and Earl A. Pace, Jr.

Vivian C. Wilson in Memoriam

BDPA achieves new milestone with 45-year Anniversary and Virtual Youth Tech Camp

ST. LOUIS, MO (BDPA St. Louis)BDPA2020 is a wrap! This weekend, National BDPA’s High School Computer Competition (HSCC) finalists out of the Midwest Regional bracket from BDPA’s St. Louis Chapter successfully re-captured their national coding and app development championship title. The awards were virtually announced live Saturday, August 22, 2020 by the association’s Board Members and Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship (SITES) Program Directors.

bdpatoday | June 2019

Winning two titles in the last three years, BDPA St. Louis achieved this feat with support, coaching, and passionate mentorship during COVID-19. This year’s challenges also included remote access for many communities to attend a “virtual” BDPACON20 during the Association’s annual Coding Combine and BDPA2020’s Youth Technology Camp (YTC).

Throughout the year, local chapters conduct SITES training programs for youth in their respective communities. SITES programs include, but are not limited to, HSCC, Mobile App Showcase, IT Showcase, YTC, and Tablets for Teens. Next school year (SY20-21), local SITES programs expand to include participating middle and high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) units. These programs are designed to expose young adults to computing and technical concepts while sharing with them expertise to develop mobile and web applications. Some chapters will participate in regional competitions throughout the country to further prepare their students. Each BDPA chapter is able to send teams of 3 to 5 students to the association’s annual regional and national technology conferences to compete against teams from other chapters all over the country.

National BDPA’s High School Computer Competition (HSCC) program was launched in 1986 by Dr. Jesse L. Bemley, of Washington, D.C. What started as a two-team event between the Chapter cities of Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Ga. has grown to over 20 teams of various high school students from chapters throughout the nation. HSCC is designed to immediately introduce our youth to emerging fields of Information Technology and Cyber while encouraging them to seek higher levels of education, and groom many of them to become our next generation of IT professionals.

More coding and cyber teams for 2021 are forming in direct support of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with additional tech-inclusion programs for JROTC, Sea Cadets, and Civil Air Patrol cadets. Local sponsors and regional impact investments are welcomed.

Email JROTC@bdpa.dc for additional details. bt

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