WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is made permanent and will be expanded and elevated with the passage of this historic legislation. This action allows the agency to increase their programs and outreach to the Nation’s more than 9 million minority-owned businesses.
“President Biden has made clear his commitment to not just rebuilding to how things were before COVID-19, but to building back better and more equitably,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina M. Raimondo. “The Minority Business Development Agency is ready to step into this historic moment and build on its success – because we recognize that America’s road to recovery runs through our minority business community. Making MBDA a statutory Agency provides MBDA with the authorities, workforce and resources needed to help level the playing field on behalf of minority businesses and minority entrepreneurs.”
“The Department of Commerce and MBDA play a pivotal role in promoting the growth and competitiveness of minority-owned businesses,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Deputy Secretary Don Graves. “This legislation is transformative and signifies a new era in minority business development and progress toward addressing the long-standing racial disparities in access to capital, contracts, and business ecosystems.”
“Created by Executive Order in 1969, the Minority Business Development Agency is the only federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises,” said Miguel Estién, Acting National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency. “The Minority Business Development Act of 2021 is one of the most significant pieces of legislation impacting the minority business community in the last 50 years. I look forward to helping lead the Agency’s transformation at this critical juncture in our nation’s history.”
The bill expands the geographic reach of the MBDA by authorizing the creation of regional MBDA offices, rural business centers, and increasing the number and scope of existing programs.
The Act also:
Creates a presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development to lead the agency.
Increases the MBDA’s grant-making capacity to partner with community and national nonprofits engaged in private and public sector development as well as research.
Mandates the creation of the Parren J. Mitchel Entrepreneurship Education Grants Program to cultivate the next generation of minority entrepreneurs on the campuses HBCUs and MSIs across the Nation.
Creates a council to advise the Under Secretary on supporting MBEs; and
Authorizes the Under Secretary to coordinate federal MBE programs.
The MBDA will report on the implementation milestones of the Minority Business Development Act of 2021 through the website, www.MBDA.gov.
Sources: White House and MBDA • Cover Photo: bdpatoday
WASHINGTON (BDPA-DC) — “Infrastructure Week” closes today with new DOW, S&P 500, and Nasdaq records on Wall Street this week along with the passage of an epic infrastructure bill on Capitol Hill. The White House announced the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), a once-in-a-generation investment in our nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness.
For far too long, Washington policymakers have celebrated an “infrastructure week” without ever agreeing to build infrastructure. The President promised to work across the aisle to deliver results and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. After the President put forward his plan to do exactly that and then negotiated a deal with Members of Congress from both parties, this historic legislation is moving to his desk for signature.
This Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. The legislation will help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years.
According to the White House, this historic legislation will:
Deliver clean water to all American families and eliminate the nation’s lead service lines. Currently, up to 10 million American households and 400,000 schools and child care centers lack safe drinking water. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will invest $55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water for households, businesses, schools, and child care centers all across the country. From rural towns to struggling cities, the legislation will invest in water infrastructure and eliminate lead service pipes, including in Tribal Nations and disadvantaged communities that need it most.
Ensure every American has access to reliable high-speed internet. Broadband internet is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected. Yet, by one definition, more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds – a particular problem in rural communities throughout the country. And, according to the latest OECD data, among 35 countries studied, the United States has the second highest broadband costs. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will deliver $65 billion to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation will also help lower prices for internet service and help close the digital divide, so that more Americans can afford internet access.
Repair and rebuild our roads and bridges with a focus on climate change mitigation, resilience, equity, and safety for all users. In the United States, 1 in 5 miles of highways and major roads, and 45,000 bridges, are in poor condition. The legislation will reauthorize surface transportation programs for five years and invest $110 billion in additional funding to repair our roads and bridges and support major, transformational projects. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal makes the single largest investment in repairing and reconstructing our nation’s bridges since the construction of the interstate highway system. It will rebuild the most economically significant bridges in the country as well as thousands of smaller bridges. The legislation also includes the first ever Safe Streets and Roads for All program to support projects to reduce traffic fatalities, which claimed more than 20,000 lives in the first half of 2021.
Improve transportation options for millions of Americans and reduce greenhouse emissions through the largest investment in public transit in U.S. history. America’s public transit infrastructure is inadequate – with a multibillion-dollar repair backlog, representing more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems in need of replacement. Communities of color are twice as likely to take public transportation and many of these communities lack sufficient public transit options. The transportation sector in the United States is now the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation includes $39 billion of new investment to modernize transit, in addition to continuing the existing transit programs for five years as part of surface transportation reauthorization. In total, the new investments and reauthorization in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal provide $89.9 billion in guaranteed funding for public transit over the next five years — the largest Federal investment in public transit in history. The legislation will expand public transit options across every state in the country, replace thousands of deficient transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero emission vehicles, and improve accessibility for the elderly and people with disabilities.
Upgrade our nation’s airports and ports to strengthen our supply chains and prevent disruptions that have caused inflation. This will improve U.S. competitiveness, create more and better jobs at these hubs, and reduce emissions. Decades of neglect and underinvestment in our infrastructure have left the links in our goods movement supply chains struggling to keep up with our strong economic recovery from the pandemic. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will make the fundamental changes that are long overdue for our nation’s ports and airports so this will not happen again. The United States built modern aviation, but our airports lag far behind our competitors. According to some rankings, no U.S. airports rank in the top 25 of airports worldwide. Our ports and waterways need repair and reimagination too. The legislation invests $17 billion in port infrastructure and waterways and $25 billion in airports to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and emissions near ports and airports, and drive electrification and other low-carbon technologies. Modern, resilient, and sustainable port, airport, and freight infrastructure will strengthen our supply chains and support U.S. competitiveness by removing bottlenecks and expediting commerce and reduce the environmental impact on neighboring communities.
Make the largest investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak. U.S. passenger rail lags behind the rest of the world in reliability, speed, and coverage. China already has 22,000 miles of high-speed rail, and is planning to double that by 2035. The legislation positions rail to play a central role in our transportation and economic future, investing $66 billion in additional rail funding to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, and bring world-class rail service to areas outside the northeast and mid-Atlantic. This is the largest investment in passenger rail since Amtrak’s creation, 50 years ago and will create safe, efficient, and climate-friendly alternatives for moving people and freight.
Build a national network of electric vehicle (EV) chargers. U.S. market share of plug-in EV sales is only one-third the size of the Chinese EV market. That needs to change. The legislation will invest $7.5 billion to build out a national network of EV chargers in the United States. This is a critical step in the President’s strategy to fight the climate crisis and it will create good U.S. manufacturing jobs. The legislation will provide funding for deployment of EV chargers along highway corridors to facilitate long-distance travel and within communities to provide convenient charging where people live, work, and shop. This investment will support the President’s goal of building a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers to accelerate the adoption of EVs, reduce emissions, improve air quality, and create good-paying jobs across the country.
Upgrade our power infrastructure to deliver clean, reliable energy across the country and deploy cutting-edge energy technology to achieve a zero-emissions future. According to the Department of Energy, power outages cost the U.S. economy up to $70 billion annually. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal’s more than $65 billion investment includes the largest investment in clean energy transmission and grid in American history. It will upgrade our power infrastructure, by building thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines to facilitate the expansion of renewables and clean energy, while lowering costs. And it will fund new programs to support the development, demonstration, and deployment of cutting-edge clean energy technologies to accelerate our transition to a zero-emission economy.
Make our infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change, cyber-attacks, and extreme weather events. Millions of Americans feel the effects of climate change each year when their roads wash out, power goes down, or schools get flooded. Last year alone, the United States faced 22 extreme weather and climate-related disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each – a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion. People of color are more likely to live in areas most vulnerable to flooding and other climate change-related weather events. The legislation makes our communities safer and our infrastructure more resilient to the impacts of climate change and cyber-attacks, with an investment of over $50 billion to protect against droughts, heat, floods and wildfires, in addition to a major investment in weatherization. The legislation is the largest investment in the resilience of physical and natural systems in American history.
Deliver the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history by cleaning up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaiming abandoned mines, and capping orphaned oil and gas wells. In thousands of rural and urban communities around the country, hundreds of thousands of former industrial and energy sites are now idle – sources of blight and pollution. Proximity to a Superfund site can lead to elevated levels of lead in children’s blood. The bill will invest $21 billion clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mine land and cap orphaned oil and gas wells. These projects will remediate environmental harms, address the legacy pollution that harms the public health of communities, create good-paying union jobs, and advance long overdue environmental justice This investment will benefit communities of color as, it has been found that 26% of Black Americans and 29% of Hispanic Americans live within 3 miles of a Superfund site, a higher percentage than for Americans overall.
— Source: The White House Images: BDPA-DC/Getty Images
WASHINGTON ―The wait is finally over for the very end of 2020. The latest lists from Industry of top stories in tech, cyber, and STEM likely will loom much larger in the fog of 2021. Topping the charts for 2020 during National BDPA’s 45th Anniversary year were stories directly and indirectly related to COVID-19, Big Tech, Cybersecurity, and Social Unrest amidst a wider and much deeper ‘Digital Chasm‘ connecting underserved communities with their respective populations during a pandemic.
The Top 25
Most of the top 25 stories highlighted below for 2020 previously were shared with Industry, communities of color, traditionally marginalized communities, and underserved communities inside or on the covers of weekly and monthly publications.
25.Earth Day Tech Summit: BDPA and UDC Earth Day Summits go virtual due to COVID-19. [April 2020 edition of bdpatoday]
24.Digital Divide: 51,000 laptops with Internet services were provided to students in Detroit, MI. [bdpatoday.com]
23. U.S. Naval Academy: Midshipman First Class Sydney Barber becomes the first Black female to lead Brigade of Midshipmen. Upon graduation in May of 2021, MIDN Barber will receive her commission as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. [bdpatoday 11.14.20 ICYMI edition]
22. Zoom: In order to meet exponential growth and unprecedented demand, Oracle is selected as a cloud infrastructure provider for Zoom meetings. [bdpatoday 05.02.20 ICYMI edition]
21. U.S. Navy: LTJG Madeline G. Swegle becomes the U.S. Navy’s first Black female Tactical Air (TACAIR) jet pilot. [July 2020 edition of bdpatoday]
20.NIST: The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Privacy Framework Version 1.0 was released to help organizations identify and manage privacy risk for building innovative products and services while protecting individuals’ privacy. [ bdpatoday 01.18.20 ICYMI edition]
18. COVID-19: Apple and Google partner on contact-tracing technology. [bdpatoday.com]
17.Tesla: Headquarters and Gigafactory moves are heading to Austin, TX. [bdpatoday.com]
16.HPC: Lewis Hamilton wins 7th FIA Formula One championship powered by edge-to-core analytics with high-performance computing (HPC) from HPE. [bdpatoday 11.28.20 ICYMI edition]
15.COBOL: Federal, State, and Local governments call for more COBOL programmers to assist staff with stimulus, relief, and unemployment checks. [bdpatoday 04.04.20 ICYMI edition]
14. Exascale Day!: October 18th is Exascale Day. HPE, JEF, and BDPA welcomed “10 to the 18th power” or “10^18” during Exascale Day Weekend launching a series of supercomputer, HPC, and artificial intelligence (Ai) webinars. [October 2020 edition of bdpatoday]
12.BDPA2020: National BDPA’s 45th Anniversary, Annual Technology Conference, Diversity Career Fair, I.T. Showcase, Mobile App Showcase, and the annual National High School Computer Competition (HSCC) collectively go 100-percent virtual for the first time in the Association’s history. #BDPA2020 was successfully delivered across all mobile platforms. [August 2020 Special Edition of bdpatoday]
11. USASMDC: The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and BDPA Huntsville launch a new Cyber Workforce initiative with the U.S. Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command (USASMDC.) [bdpatoday 10.31.20 ICYMI edition]
10. Digital Divide: Microsoft awards $15 million in Community Skills Grants, an investment over three years to fifty (50) Black- and African American-led nonprofits that are working to increase skill development and economic opportunities. The H.O.P.E. Project DMV in partnership with National BDPA’s Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter (bdpadc.org) are one of Microsoft’s grant recipients for 2020. [bdpatoday.com]
9.AFRL: In fiscal year 2021 (FY21), the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program seeks to ink new and innovative deals with emerging small businesses and HBCU mission partners to meet or exceed the Department of the Air Force’s (DAF) priorities. [bdpatoday May 2020 edition]
8. Cryptocurrency: Bitcoin’s latest rise in 2020. For the first time in its history, Bitcoin reached $20,000. According to CNBC, the world’s most-valuable virtual currency traded 5.6% higher on Wednesday, December 16, 2020, to a new price of around $20,600, taking its year-to-date gains north of 180%! [bdpatoday.com]
7. SpaceX: The launch of two NASA astronauts aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station (ISS) marked the first private spaceflight company to send a crewed spacecraft into space. [bdpatoday June 2020 edition]
6. SolarWinds: Government agencies ‘hacked’ again ― stories from Federal, State, and Local agencies are still unfolding as we venture deeper into 2021. [bdpatoday.com]
5.Wall Street: Nasdaq advances “diversity” as stocks in 2020 across most major indices reached record highs. Nasdaq soon may adopt new listing rules related to board diversity and disclosures. [bdpatoday.com]
4.White House: As the daughter of two immigrants from Jamaica and India, Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’ historic election breaks several barriers. “All eyes are on Georgia” as the next President of the Senate awaits Georgia’s runoff election results to determine control of the U.S. Senate. [bdpatoday November 2020 edition]
3.Big Tech vs. Uncle Sam: On October 6, 2020, bdpatoday.com featured a story about the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee’s release of findings of its more than 16-month long investigation into the state of competition in the digital economy, especially the challenges presented by the dominance of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook and their business practices. On October 20, 2020, bdpatoday.com shared a story from the Department of Justice (DOJ.) DOJ — along with eleven state Attorneys General — filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop Google from unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets and to remedy the competitive harms. In 2021 and the foreseeable future, “Big Tech” will have its day in Congress and the Courts from at least two branches of government. In the pipeline will be renewed battles over Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (at 47 U.S.C. § 230). “Section 230” provides immunity for content providers and website publishers from third-party content. [bdpatoday.com]
2. COVID-19: “All Hands On Deck” for scientists, engineers, physicians, logisticians, STEM technicians, and I.T. professionals. “Digital divides” and “heath desert” challenges across the globe in underserved communities are hampering vaccine distributions as 2020 fades away. [bdpatoday December 2020 edition]
Number 1. Digital Divide and Social Unrest: Black Data Matters, Black Tech Matters, Black Consumers Matter, all lives matter, every student ― #BDPAfuture ― really matters. Founded by Earl A. Pace, Jr. in Philadelphia, PA as Black Data Processing Associates, BDPA was established in 1975 to promote and share awareness across traditionally underserved or marginalized communities of new “Data Processing” careers with related technical job openings in “Computer Science” fields. Today, BDPA’s mission has not waivered.
The pandemic of 2020 coupled with civil unrest across several U.S. cities revealed widening ‘digital chasms’ with news deserts, health deserts, and food deserts in every corner of America leading up to our top stories for 2020. Systemic racism, cultural biases, social discord, oppression from deep within our society’s soul, and gerrymandered redlining transgressions still are shrewdly perpetuated today through outdated laws, discriminatory policies, algorithmic bias, obsolete technology, and dilapidated infrastructures. To this end, our lead success stories feature BDPA, its ICT Industry partners, major corporations, and local BDPA Chapter mission-partners making impact investments to help eliminate “deserts” within digitally divided communities as millions of students, teachers, and parents where forced home; many with little or no access to high speed Internet services. [bdpatoday.com]
Last October, National BDPA celebrated the life of Vivian C. Wilson, the first women elected to the Association’s chief executive role of National BDPA President.
BDPA Nation also said goodbyes in 2020 to iconic Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman;Dr. George Robert Carruthers, an inventor, physicist, engineer and space scientist; Roderick “Rod” Wesley Flakes, former President, BDPA (Boston) Mass MetroWest Chapter and engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC); U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg; one of NASA’s “Hidden Figures” Katherine Johnson; U.S. Representative John Lewis; Norman Shakespeare, former Vice President of Strategic Planning, BDPA (Boston) Mass MetroWest Chapter; model and restaurateur Barbara “B” Smith; and Charles “Chuck” Yeager, World War II ace fighter pilot and U.S. Air Force quintessential test pilot.
2021 has arrived! In May 2021, bdpatoday (ISSN 1946-1429) launches its 15th year to proudly serve more I.T. technicians and cybersecurity professionals, new HBCU Chapters, new student members, and new consumers in every industry. To add your team’s success stories in tech, cyber, and STEM along with new campaigns or press releases, contact our team directly at: email@example.com – or – firstname.lastname@example.org.
WASHINGTON―The HOPE Project DMV (hopeprojectonline.com) in partnership with National BDPA’s Greater Washington, D.C. Chapter (bdpadc.org) was awarded a Microsoft community skills grant. Through this grant, they will receive funding, leadership development and tech enablement to support their work in providing digital skills and workforce development opportunities within their community. Each are very thrilled to fuel local tech talent and work together to expand their programs, rebuild from the current COVID-19 crisis, and prepare members and alumni for an increasingly digital “Future Of Work.”
BDPA-DC is extending the HOPE Project’s new online I.T. training and certification services to HBCU students and alumni through its “Industry 4.0” Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES-IV) programs. For immediate I.T. training and certification scholarship opportunities, see related article on bdpatoday linked here from December 6, 2020.
About H.O.P.E. Project DMV
The H.O.P.E. Project (HOPE) mission is to empower students to reach their potential by providing a comprehensive information technology training program, designed for students out of high school and at least 18 years old. Since 2009 HOPE Project has trained, coached, and mentored nearly 2,000 IT students that have an average salary of nearly $65,000 a year. HOPE has helped students earn over 2,200 CompTIA A+, Network+ and Security+ certifications. These credentials have helped HOPE alumni build IT careers working as Cyber Security Engineers, Systems Administrators, Mobile Device Engineers, and IT Project Managers. Visit: hopeprojectonline.com.
The association’s global mission as outlined by National BDPA is to bridge digital divides across cyber security, information technology (IT) and telecommunications competency gaps while broadening outreach and awareness campaigns for computer, data science, and technical careers. Since 1978, BDPA of Greater Washington, D.C. (BDPA-DC) has successfully presented Student Information Technology Education and Scholarship (SITES) projects across the National Capital Region support career development and economic development through well blended and tailored series of student programs, industry outreach, community relations, and legislative affairs primarily for urban and underserved communities. Visit: bdpadc.org.
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 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.
WASHINGTON—The Best Buy Foundation has approved a grant to BDPA of Greater Washington, D.C. (BDPA-DC) in direct support of the association’s Tablets For Teens program. Grant reporting and requirements for this next phase provide details on precisely how funds are used to support this rapidly emerging digital divide initiative.
BDPA-DC is supporting the following mission sets with Title-I schools across the National Capital Region collocated within our primary area of responsibility. Direct support includes distribution of free or low-cost computing devices to students and distribution of new cellular wireless hot spots to students with no broadband service at home.
This special grant also assists BDPA student members, students enrolled in National BDPA’s Student I.T. Education and Scholarship (SITES) activities, and local JROTC Cadets attending Title-I schools with new tablet PCs, notebook PCs, mobile hot-spots, or small single-board card-sized computers with accessories. BDPA Student Members, Cadets, and local high school students may also receive community service hours supporting local BDPA SITES projects, webinars, technology events, and outreach activities with BDPA.
Best Buy has been a committed, valuable and engaged community partner and BDPA-DC enthusiastically looks forward to continuing our local, regional, and national relationships in the future.
The association’s global mission as outlined by National BDPA is to bridge digital divides across cyber security, information technology (IT) and telecommunications competency gaps while broadening outreach and awareness campaigns for computer, data science, and technical careers. Since 1978, BDPA-DC’s projects across the National Capital Region support career development and economic development through well blended and tailored series of student programs, industry outreach, community relations, and legislative affairs primarily for urban and underserved communities. Tablets For Teens is another program under the Chapter’s SITES-IV (“Industry 4.0” SITES) portfolio.
Multimillion Dollar Grant Will Extend STEM Programs to U.S. Military Families, Low Income Students of Color And Underrepresented Communities
NEW ORLEANS, Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ ― STEM NOLA has received a $2.79 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to expand its educational workshops and access across the Gulf South, serving military-connected families. STEM NOLA’s largest award to date is a part of the highly competitive National Defense Education Program Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics awards, which granted a total of 12 awards this year, totaling $31 million over a three-year period.
“We are exceedingly grateful and incredibly proud to partner with the U.S Department of Defense in addressing some of the most urgent educational needs among military families and underrepresented communities,” says STEM NOLA CEO Calvin Mackie. “This grant is life-changing. It will continue the great momentum we’ve created this year by immediately shifting our STEM programs and afterschool activities to a virtual platform.”
The multimillion dollar grant will strengthen STEM NOLA’s innovative STEM ecosystem created to build confidence, skills and performance in STEM-related subjects and fields such as the power of wind, friction, rockets and robotics. It will continue STEM NOLA’s mission of engaging, inspiring and empowering young people and students of color through STEM-activities while providing awareness of the DOD’s STEM career opportunities.
In 2018, Mackie was selected by Gov. John Bel Edwards to serve as one of three leading Louisiana advocates of STEM preparation to represent Louisiana at the inaugural State-Federal Science Technology Engineering and Math Summit to be hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. In 2017, Gov. Edwards appointed Mackie to the Louisiana Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Advisory Council. The council coordinates and oversees STEM education programs, to increase student interest and achievement in the fields of STEM; to ensure the alignment of education and workforce needs; and to increase the number of women who graduate from a postsecondary institution with a STEM degree or credential.
Mackie has won numerous awards including the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. He received the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board’s Chair (CBCF) Phoenix Award. The Phoenix Award is the highest honor presented by CBCF. It recognizes individuals whose extraordinary achievements strengthen communities and improve the lives of individuals and families, nationally and globally.
About STEM NOLA Founded by New Orleans native and former tenured Tulane Engineering professor, Dr. Calvin Mackie, STEM NOLA is dedicated to exposing, inspiring and engaging communities in learning opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The award-winning programming designs and delivers activities, programs and events, with a focus on underserved communities. The non-profit organization is dedicated to developing future Innovators, Creators and Entrepreneurs through the exposure to 21st Century skills of Communication, Collaboration and Critical Thinking. Since 2014, STEM NOLA has engaged over 40,000 students – mostly under-served students of color – in hands-on STEM project-based learning.
Historic $10.7B Initiative is Aimed at Closing the Homework Gap and Connecting Students to Opportunity – for Free
BELLEVUE, WA—With the need for equitable access to the internet more crucial than ever, T-Mobile has zeroed in on a bold goal: helping every single unconnected student in the U.S. get access to the internet connectivity they need to learn. In a recent video posted last month, T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert announced that the Un-carrier’s $10.7 billion Project 10Million commitment is taking a big step toward accomplishing this vision. The program is now live and available to school districts.
But T-Mobile didn’t stop there. In response to the unique learning challenges students are experiencing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Un-carrier is expanding Project 10Million by giving school districts additional plan options with more data to best meet their students’ current needs.
T-Mobile previously committed to kick off Project 10Million once its merger with Sprint was complete, and now, as the supercharged Un-carrier, it is following through on that promise and putting its combined resources and network capacity to work. Through Project 10Million, T-Mobile is addressing the persistent homework gap experienced by more than 9 million children across the country who are unable to get online to complete at-home assignments. Project 10Million offers free wireless hotspots, up to 100GB per year of free high-speed data, and access to at-cost tablets and laptops, or the equivalent value of approximately $500 annually per student household.
Additionally, as COVID-19 forces up to 50 million students out of the physical classroom and into part- or full-time remote learning, the need for connectivity and greater bandwidth has dramatically increased. What was a homework gap has turned into an even more massive schoolwork gap, when students without internet access are completely left out of learning.
To address this urgent need, the Un-carrier has expanded Project 10Million by allowing participating school districts to apply the value of the free program to one of two new plans with MORE data. Schools can choose a 100GB per month option or a fully unlimited plan. The best part is that every district gets free wireless hotspots and access to at-cost laptops and tablets, and they have the flexibility to pick the solution that works best for their district. And it’s all still free to students. Interested school districts may sign anytime with T-Mobile at www.t-mobile.com/p10m.
“Education is the great leveler, but without internet access, kids will be left behind. T-Mobile has a big goal – to deliver connectivity to every child who needs it across the U.S. Starting now with our historic Project 10Million commitment, we’re going to help open A LOT of doors to opportunity that might have previously been closed,” said T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert. “This issue is even more critical as the COVID-19 pandemic has completely shifted learning for many from the classroom to online. Big issues need big solutions, and that’s exactly why we’re not just launching but significantly enhancing Project 10Million and giving flexibility to educators so they can best address the unique needs of their students with plans that offer more data. As the supercharged Un-carrier, we now have the resources and network capacity to deliver reliable connectivity to students across the U.S. — and to tackle the critical homework gap and the schoolwork gap head-on!”
As classroom learning continues to shift to online learning, the need for internet connectivity is growing. It’s a problem T-Mobile has been working on closely with schools, state governments and technology partners since the pandemic started.
The expanded reach and capacity of T-Mobile’s network plays a crucial role in the Un-carrier’s ability to make reliable connectivity truly accessible to students across the U.S. This includes those in urban centers as well as underserved areas like rural America, where 1.7 million households do not have high-speed home internet service. Future Project 10Million recipients will also benefit from T-Mobile’s expanded 5G over time with faster speeds and even broader coverage.
Project 10Million builds on T-Mobile’s — and Sprint’s — longstanding focus on education and connecting students. Prior to merging in April 2020 and before the COVID-19 pandemic, T-Mobile and Sprint had already connected nearly half a million students, and as COVID-19 started to impact schools, the combined company stepped up its efforts. Since March 2020, T-Mobile has connected over 1.6 million students in more than 3,100 school districts across the country. This includes the company’s part in New York City’s plan to connect more than 350,000 students with iPads and data when classes resume virtually. And the Un-carrier has partnered with the California Department of Education and Apple to connect up to another 1 million students as schools across the state prepare to start the next school year virtually.
“Since the start of the pandemic, T-Mobile and Sprint have worked hand-in-hand with school districts, state governments and technology partners to bring connectivity solutions to those who need it most, connecting more than 1.6 million students in less than six months,” said Mike Katz, executive vice president of T-Mobile for Business. “During the pandemic, we’ve had countless conversations with school districts and educators. We’ve consistently heard that they need more options that fit the unique needs of their students. We have expanded Project 10Million to tap into T-Mobile’s network resources and capacity, and take our support of educators and students to a whole new level. We’re going to make a HUGE difference for millions of students!”
Project 10Million is the third and final component of the Un-carrier 1.0 5G for Good commitments that the company announced before its merger with Sprint was approved. Since the completion of the merger, the company has now launched all three commitments, which also include Connecting Heroes and T-Mobile Connect.
ARMONK, NY―This week, IBM announced its first IBM Quantum education and research initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), aimed at driving a diverse and inclusive quantum workforce. Led by Howard University and 12 additional HBCUs, the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center will offer access to its quantum computers, as well as collaboration on academic, education, and community outreach programs.
In addition, as part of the company’s continued efforts around diversity and inclusion, IBM will make a $100M investment in technology, assets, resources and skills development through partnerships with additional HBCUs through the IBM Skills Academy Academic Initiative.
Driving Diversity and Inclusion in Quantum Computing
“We believe that in order to expand opportunity for diverse populations, we need a diverse talent pipeline of the next generation of tech leaders from HBCUs. Diversity and inclusion is what fuels innovation and students from HBCUs will be positioned to play a significant part of what will drive innovations for the future like quantum computing, cloud and artificial intelligence,” said Carla Grant Pickens, Chief Global Diversity & Inclusion Officer, IBM.
The IBM-HBCU Quantum Center is a multi-year investment designed to prepare and develop talent at HBCUs from all STEM disciplines for the quantum future. It will emphasize the power of community and focus on developing students through support and funding for research opportunities, curriculum development, workforce advocacy, and special projects.
“Diversity is a source of competitive advantage, essential to create a thriving quantum industry,” said Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research. “We could not be more excited about partnering with our HBCU colleagues to help educate and empower the first generation of quantum computing native students and researchers.”
The 13 HBCUs intending to participate in the Quantum Center were prioritized based on their research and education focus in physics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and other STEM fields. They include: Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University, Coppin State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, Morgan State University, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Southern University, Texas Southern University, University of the Virgin Islands, Virginia Union University, and Xavier University of Louisiana.
“Howard University has prioritized our efforts to support our students’ pathway to STEM fields for many years with exciting results as we witness more and more graduates becoming researchers, scientists and engineers with renown national companies. Our faculty and students look forward to collaborating with our peer institutions through the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center. We’re excited to share best practices and work together to prepare students to participate in a quantum-ready workforce,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA.
Investing in Under-Represented Talent to Drive Innovation
As part of the Skills Academy Academic Initiative in Global University Programs, a multi-year program, IBM is donating more than $100M in assets, including university guests lectures, curriculum content, digital badges, software and faculty training to select HBCUs by the end of 2020. The IBM Skills Academy is a comprehensive, integrated program designed to create a foundation of diverse and high demand skill sets that directly correlate to what students will need in the workplace. The learning tracks address topics such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, blockchain, design thinking and quantum computing.
The HBCUs who are part of the Skills Academy Academic Initiative include: Clark Atlanta University, Fayetteville State University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Johnson C. Smith University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, Southern University System, Stillman College, Virginia State and West Virginia State University.
The response to combating systemic racism in the US must be timely, strategic and more than a statement of support. The response needs to be tangible action. IBM’s investment in HBCUs is part of the company’s efforts around social justice and racial equality by creating equitable, innovative experiences for HBCU students to acquire the necessary skills to unlock economic opportunity and prosperity.
DETROIT, MI (NAACP Detroit) – Today it was announced that 51,000 Detroit school children and their parents will have access to laptops and the internet. A few weeks ago, this was only a thought in the minds of a few very dedicated people. Now children all around this city, regardless of economic, social or racial status will become more knowledgeable, more prepared, and more confident in their future.
Partners in this effort are the Detroit Branch NAACP, DTE Energy, DPSCD, Quicken Loans, The Skillman Foundation, City of Detroit, General Motors, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Every now and then, one gets the opportunity to do something much bigger which will last much longer than even they themselves. This is the historic moment. It is a kairos moment (when God has placed a special opportunity) to bless Detroit to come together to create order out of chaos. It has been said, “it is only during a storm that a tree knows how strong it is” Matshona Dhliwayo. Today, we are discovering how strong we can be as a people when we come together as a village. It is hard to believe that what started off as an idea, a suggestion, even a challenge has now evolved into a reality. This truly is the stuff of which dreams are made.
51,000 Detroit school children and their parents will have access to laptops and the internet. A few weeks ago, this was only a thought in the minds of a few very dedicated people. Now children all around this city, regardless of economic, social or racial status will become more knowledgeable, more prepared, and more confident in their future. Education and information will be brought live and in living color directly into their homes. Detroit will become a national model of what can be done in various communities if the people have a mind to get it done.
It is appropriate and inspiring that the model begin in the city of Detroit. We continue to be a city of firsts. From the auto industry to the music industry, whether its labor or religion, we take a back seat to no one in creativity and innovation. As a community advocate and a person of faith, I do believe in miracles. The ability to raise nearly $20 million dollars in such a short time to have an impact for such a long time is indeed miraculous. This is one sure way of defeating COVID-19. The disease may have taken our bodies, but it can never take the spirit out of Detroit. I want to thank every company, every business, every foundation, the Mayor, and each person that has made this initiative possible.
I say to the other companies, firms and foundations that are viewing this progress, now is the time for you to log in with us. Let’s make history together. It is historic because it has never been done before. The children of our city need you. If ever you wondered what you should do, just hook up to the Connected Futures and see all the good that you can do. May God bless you and the children, educators, parents, IT professionals and other staff that will lead us into the future.
BDPA Chapters may directly receive new tablets, laptops, Raspberry Pi PC kits, software, mobile hotspots, and cash donations locally or via BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF.org) to reduce digital divide challenges.