BDPA Atlanta Captures Chapter of the Year Honors for 2022

ATLANTA—One of the nation’s leading technology inclusion conferences, BDPACON22, powered by BDPA adjourned Saturday, August 20, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia, with BDPA Atlanta, the association’s Host Chapter, capturing Chapter of the Year honors and top awards for 2022.

This year’s 44th annual BDPA Technology Conference (BDPACON22) and Career Expo theme was “Honoring our Legacy, Accelerating the Pace.” For BDPA, 2022 is a great year for community action refocusing on technological barriers, tech-inclusion challenges, and failed workforce policies facing underserved communities. BDPA continues to raise community awareness as the association explores better solutions with new opportunities from diverse and  innovative STEM perspectives.

BDPA Tech and Policy

National BDPA’s Atlanta Chapter President, Ms. Sheneeka Ward (center), receives a House Resolution from Georgia’s House of Representatives commending BDPA during Opening Ceremonies of BDPACON22. The association’s resolution was signed by Pedro Marin, Ranking Member of Georgia’s House Science and Technology Committee. His committee in Georgia’s General Assembly is responsible for legislation that promotes the appropriate and safe development and use of science and technological advances across the state. (L-R) Jose A. Marquez-Leon, National President and CEO of TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA) and proclamation presenter; Sheneeka Ward, President, BDPA Atlanta; and Stephanie Gloster, BDPA Vice President, South Region. Photo © 2022 BDPA

Increasing STEM and cybersecurity engagements with local non-profits, small businesses, HBCUs, JROTC units, and media remain very high priorities for the association as planning for their 50th anniversary in 2025 and supporting sponsored events begin to unfold in FY23.

To review events or an agenda item from BDPACON22 or to plan for BDPACON23 next year in Atlanta, registrants and BDPA Members may visit https://conference.bdpa.org.

For media inquiries, requests may be made by emailing: info@bdpa.org or info@bdpatoday.org .

About BDPA

2016 HSCC World Coding Champions | BDPA Atlanta

Established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1975 as Black Data Processing Associates, BDPA is an international organization with a diverse membership of professionals and students in the fields of information technology, computer science, data science, and related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. BDPA Members and mission partners engage in serving local communities through professional outreach events, technology conferences, research and development (R&D) summits with youth STEM competitions, while advocating and charting the future direction of information and communications technology (ICT) industries. For corporate, professional, or student engagements, visit BDPA.org.


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Review BDPACON22 events —plan to embrace BDPACON23 next year in Atlanta!

National I.T. Showcase Winners for 2022 Announced—HBCUs Capture Top Collegiate Awards at BDPACON22

ATLANTA—BDPACON22, one of the nation’s leading technology inclusion conferences, adjourned Saturday, August 20, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia, with a new cohort of I.T. Showcase winners selected from the nation’s colleges, universities, and high schools. Annual showcases feature white papers, oral poster presentations, selection panels from ICT Industry judges, and new scholarships for finalists. This year’s cohort follows.

Student Members from BDPA’s Houston Chapter and Prairie View A&M University at BDPACON22
High School Round

Jonathan BryantBDPA Detroit
1st Place – Utilizing 3D CAD To Design and Test Charging Adapters for Use In Charging Electric Vehicle
Awarded: $2,500


Sai Nirmal SarvaBDPA Atlanta
2nd Place — Technology for People with Speech Development Issues
Awarded: $1,250


Javon Jennings BDPA Huntsville
3rd Place — The Use of International Writing Systems to Enhance Password Security
Awarded: $750


Collegiate Round

Dallyn RedenPrairie View A&M UniversityBDPA Houston
1st Place — Securing Invasive Virtualization Attacks
Awarded: $2,500


Olaoluwa AdewoyeBowie State UniversityBDPA Washington, D.C.
2nd Place — Cluster Array Configuration through interconnection of Raspbian Systems
Awarded: $1,500


This year’s 44th annual BDPA Technology Conference (BDPACON22) and Career Expo theme was “Honoring our Legacy, Accelerating the Pace.” For BDPA, 2022 is a great year for community action refocusing on technological barriers, challenges, and policies facing underserved communities. BDPA continues to raise community awareness as the association explores better solutions with new opportunities from diverse and  innovative perspectives.

Increasing STEM and cybersecurity engagements with local non-profits, small businesses, HBCUs, JROTC units, and media remain very high priorities for the association as planning for their 50th anniversary in 2025 and supporting sponsored events begin to unfold in FY23.

To review events or an agenda item from BDPACON22 or to plan for BDPACON23 next year in Atlanta, registrants and BDPA Members may visit https://conference.bdpa.org.

For media inquiries, requests from BDPA Chapters and journalists may be made by emailing: info@bdpa.org or info@bdpatoday.org .

About BDPA

BDPA’s Houston Chapter at BDPACON22 with Norman Mays (center), co-author of The BDPA Story

Established in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1975 as Black Data Processing Associates, BDPA is an international organization with a diverse membership of professionals and students in the fields of information technology, computer science, data science, and related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. BDPA Members and mission partners engage in serving local communities through professional outreach events, technology conferences, research and development (R&D) summits with youth STEM competitions, while advocating and charting the future direction of information and communications technology (ICT) industries. For corporate, professional, or student engagements, visit BDPA.org.


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Review BDPACON22 events —plan to embrace BDPACON23 next year in Atlanta!

Google’s new office is a love letter to Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA—Google has been a part of Atlanta for more than 20 years. There are more than 1,000 full-time Google employees in Georgia — in two offices in Atlanta and a data center in Douglas County — helping to build and support our products, and help our partners and customers across the South and nationally.

We recently opened our doors to the newest office space in Midtown Atlanta at the 1105 West Peachtree building. This new Google office encompasses 19 floors spanning 500,000 square feet, and is a part of our broader investment in local communities across the U.S.

Atlanta has a rich civil rights history and is home to top Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and tech talent. Continuing our long-term investment here will help support our Black Googler community in Atlanta, in line with our racial equity commitments.

Inspired by the city’s legacy for social change, our office was designed as an homage to the people of Atlanta, with each floor an ode to Atlanta’s cultural, musical and artistic history. We worked with more than 50 local and diverse companies to design and build the new space, including artwork from more than 20 local artists.

A giant heart outlining the Google Atlanta sign greets you in the lobby. One of the staircases features a rainbow design — in support and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community — inspired by the city’s nearby rainbow crosswalks. The WERD Cafe, our Googler cafeteria, is named for the first Black-owned and programmed U.S. radio station.

The lobby is decorated with warm vibrant colors and a relaxed sitting area with music memorabilia, a record player and a boombox. The ATL office lobby greets you with a mix of fun design and an emphasis on music. From record players to boomboxes, it’s a reflection of Atlanta’s musical history.

The lobby with, vibrant colors and relaxed sitting area, greets you with a mix of fun design and an emphasis on music. From record players to boomboxes, it reflects Atlanta’s musical history.

Our commitment to Atlanta extends far beyond the walls of our new office. In 2021, Google products helped provide $13.21 billion of economic activity for tens of thousands of Georgia businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators and developers.

Today, we’re announcing a $1 million commitment to the Urban League of Atlanta to support their work in training underserved communities throughout Georgia. This grant will help jobseekers get digital skills training and place them in high-growth jobs.

On top of this, to bring equitable opportunities to more Georgians, we’re partnering with local community organizations and universities. We’re working with HBCUs like Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College to attract top talent, and partnering with the Technical College System of Georgia to offer Google Career Certificates to 22 colleges across the state at no cost.

Lastly, we are partnering with Mayor Andre Dickens and the Atlanta BeltLine to launch the Atlanta BeltLine Marketplace, an effort to help local Black, Latino and women-owned small businesses reach new customers by retrofitting rail cars into retail space. We’re providing Wi-Fi for the rail containers, a complete suite of Google Nest products, Chromebooks and free digital skills training.

We look forward to continuing to support and partner with our customers, employees and local communities in Atlanta for years to come.

by Matthew Pritchard
Google Atlanta Co-Site Lead and Global Business Organization Lead


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Google @ BDPACON22
Google @ BDPACON22

DOD and DAF to create first HBCU led UARC to advance new Tactical Autonomy Research Partnerships

DAYTON, OH—The Department of the Air Force (DAF) is creating the first Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) led University Affiliated Research Center (UARC). This is also the first DAF UARC. The UARC’s core competencies will focus on advancing the deployment of tactical autonomy for DAF missions.  The success of this effort is built on a strong partnership between the DAF, USD(R&E), USD(A&S) and USD(P&R) under the overarching guidance of the Secretary of Defense.

BACKGROUND OF THE PROGRAM
HBCU Students

HBCUs graduate 30 percent of African American STEM professionals, but receive less than .05 percent of DOD research funding. HBCUs consistently produce high caliber STEM talent able to compete for advanced degrees at top academic programs. More than one third of African American STEM PhD holders earned a bachelor’s degree from an HBCU while 88 percent of these PhD holders receive PhDs from non HBCUs.

(Left) Courtesy photo: Department of Education

This is clear evidence that untapped potential to address National Security imperatives resides at HBCUs but it is unavailable to the DAF due to historical inequities.

INTENT OF THE PROGRAM

This initiative will enable the DAF to establish and maintain essential research and development capabilities to advance the field of Autonomy and deliver operationally relevant autonomy for national security requirements.  Desired outcomes are to:

  • Advance the field of Autonomy by focusing on key DAF operational imperatives.
  • Grow and diversify the available pool of Scientists and Engineers to support the DAF and grow organic technical excellence.
  • Increase capacity accessible to the DAF by fostering HBCU R1 Research Classification.
  • Seed a unique ecosystem of small and large businesses around the UARC to further the above outcomes.

The UARC will be competitively selected through a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) made available soon to industry and academia. It will be based on a consortium model with a Lead HBCU Institution and additional performer institutions, serving under a consortium framework. The DAF Chief Scientist (AF/ST) will be the UARC sponsor with a Management Office responsible for UARC implementation and oversite; and an Executive Steering Board (ESB) which will be populated with members from DoD community partners. The UARC award period will be 5 years with 5 option years at $12M per year. The DAF is leading the investment with $8M per year with additional annual contributions of $2M yearly each from USD(R&E) and USD(A&S).

Source and cover photo: Air Force Research Laboratory


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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

NASA Supports Small Business Research to Power Future Exploration

WASHINGTON—NASA has selected hundreds of small businesses and dozens of research institutions to develop technology to help drive the future of space exploration, ranging from novel sensors and electronics to new types of software and cutting-edge materials. The newly awarded projects under the agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program also include a high-power electric rocket and a coating to make solar panels more efficient that could be used both in space and here on Earth.

The awards total nearly $50 million, with investments spread out over 39 states and Washington, D.C. Under the selection, 333 proposals from 257 small businesses and 41 research institutions – including 10 Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) – will be awarded first-round funding for technology development. View the full lists of SBIR awardees and STTR awardees online.

NASA investments in American small businesses and research institutions help provide the innovations needed for the exciting and ambitious missions on the agency’s horizon and foster robust commercial space and technology sectors.

bdpatoday | ICYMI 04.30.22“NASA is working on ambitious, groundbreaking missions that require innovative solutions from a variety of sources – especially our small businesses,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “Small businesses have the creative edge and expertise needed to help our agency solve our common and complex challenges, and they are crucial to maintaining NASA’s leadership in space. The SBIR program is one of the key ways we do that as well as creating jobs in a growing, sustainable space economy.”

Each proposal team will receive $150,000 – a 20% increase over previous years’ funding – to establish the merit and feasibility of their innovations. Phase I SBIR contracts are awarded to small businesses and last for six months, while Phase I STTR contracts are awarded to small businesses in partnership with a research institution and last for 13 months.

“The selections span a breadth of areas to empower the agency’s work in human exploration, space technology, science, and aeronautics,” said Jenn Gustetic, director of early-stage innovation and partnerships for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “We’re excited about the uses for these technologies for Artemis and other missions, as well as their potential use in the commercial space industry and people’s everyday lives.”

About 30% of the awards will go to first-time NASA SBIR/STTR recipients. This includes Ad Astra Rocket Company based in Webster, Texas. With its Phase I award, the company will develop a new way of manufacturing part of its Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket, or VASIMR, engine – a high-power electric rocket engine the company has been working on with NASA for 25 years. In the engine, powerful radiofrequency waves are launched by special antennas, called couplers. The waves ionize gas into plasma, which is then accelerated to provide rocket thrust. The Phase I funding will be used to manufacture couplers in a way that increases the engine’s power limit. This innovation will help move the entire engine closer to commercialization, where it could be used for high-maneuverability satellites, lunar settlement cargo delivery, and more.

Nearly 25% of the selected companies are women-owned, veteran-owned, disadvantaged, and/or HUBzone small businesses. For example, D2K Technologies, a women- and minority-owned small business based in Oceanside, California, will create a monitoring and advisory system for health management of solenoid operated valves (SOV) used in industrial applications with its Phase I award. This technology could find use in many of NASA’s research centers, testing centers, and launch sites, since SOVs are basic components of most fluid systems. And, with the widespread use of SOVs in industrial applications, the system could be useful to oil and gas, nuclear, manufacturing, power generation, chemical, food, and pharmaceutical companies. This eight-person company is also a first-time NASA SBIR awardee.

“Finding and building a diverse community of entrepreneurs is a central part of our program’s outreach, and the efforts to reach them can start even before Phase I,” said Gynelle Steele, deputy program executive for NASA’s SBIR/STTR program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “For example, working in partnership with NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project, we started offering M-STTR planning grants last year, which incentivized partnerships between MSIs and small businesses and prepared them to submit a STTR Phase I proposal in 2022.”

National BDPA’s “Space City” Chapter in Huntsville, Alabama is a Meta Data Center  Community Action Grant winner for FY22 . Funding for nonprofits and schools support long-term vitality of Huntsville.

M-STTR awardee Oakwood University, a historically Black university (HBCU) based in Huntsville, Alabama, will continue working alongside SSS Optical Technologies, a small business also based in Huntsville, using their Phase I award to develop a new type of coating for photovoltaic (PV) cells embedded in solar sails. The coating could generate extra electricity and improve the overall PV conversion efficiency, which could advance solar sailing and other power and energy conversion needs for space exploration. This technology could improve the efficiency of commercial solar panels.

NASA selected Phase I proposals to receive funding by judging their technical merit and commercial potential. Based on their progress during Phase I, companies may submit proposals for $850,000 in Phase II funding to develop a prototype, as well as subsequent SBIR/STTR Post Phase II opportunities. The NASA SBIR/STTR program is part of the Space Technology Mission Directorate and is managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

To learn more about NASA’s SBIR/STTR program and apply to future opportunities, visit: https://sbir.nasa.gov/.

— Source and photos: NASA


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Air Force HBCU/MI Collider
Select here to register for the third annual Air Force HBCU/MI Outreach Initiative Collider

Addressing the talent shortage with IBM SkillsBuild – Think 2022

IBM collaborates with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Specialisterne Foundation, and six Historically Black College & Universities to train underrepresented communities on technology

ARMONK, N.Y., May 10, 2022 — IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced education initiatives with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)Specialisterne Foundation, and six Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to provide no-cost STEM job training to U.S. military veterans, neurodivergent learners worldwide, and university students from underrepresented communities in the U.S.

These collaborations underscore IBM’s focus on providing STEM job training to traditionally underrepresented communities as part of its commitment to skill 30 million people worldwide by 2030 to create equitable, inclusive economic opportunities while also addressing a longstanding STEM job skills shortage impacting the business community.

IBM SkillsBuild
  • U.S. Department of Veterans AffairsIBM SkillsBuild will be an enhanced resource for transitioning Service members who are seeking job training and credentials through the VA to pursue a career after completing their military service. Together with the VA’s Veteran Employment Through Technology Education Courses (VET TEC) Employer Consortium, IBM will help military veterans to pursue customized learning paths and other accelerated, non-traditional job training for high-demand technology careers. The Department of Defense estimates that 250,000 Service members transition annually to veteran status.
     
  • In 2021, IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna pledged for IBM to partner with HBCUs to establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers, with the goal of building a more diverse U.S. cyber workforce. Today, IBM is announcing the first six of more than 20 Cybersecurity Leadership Centers with the following HBCUs and HBCU systems: North Carolina A&T State University, Southern University System, Clark Atlanta University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Morgan State University, South Carolina State University.

Participant universities will have access to a customized, multi-year cybersecurity experience with IBM, including cybersecurity curricula, cloud access, and an immersive learning experience to expand HBCUs’ capacity to develop top talent in the cybersecurity sector.

  • Cybersecurity curricula: IBM will develop for each HBCU, a customized IBM Security Learning Academy portal – IBM client offering – including courses designed to help the university enhance its cybersecurity education portfolio. In addition, IBM will continue to give access to IBM Academic Programs.
  • Immersive learning experience: HBCUs’ faculty and students will have an opportunity to benefit from IBM Security’s Command Center, through which they can experience a highly realistic, simulated cyberattack, designed to prepare them and train them on response techniques. Moreover, HBCUs’ faculty will have access to consultation sessions with IBM technical personnel on cybersecurity.
  • Cloud access: IBM will provide faculty and students with no-cost access to multiple SaaS IBM Cloud environments.
  • Specialisterne Foundation: Together with the Specialisterne Foundation, IBM SkillsBuild will be tailored to the job training needs of neurodivergent individuals across 13 countries (Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Spain, UK, U.S.). Specialisterne Foundation helps harness the talents of autistic persons and those with profiles such ADHD, OCD, and dyslexia.

IBM is committed to extending skills training and technology credentials to individuals from underrepresented communities and will continue to pursue new and enhanced education partnerships like these.

“We believe that the most promising job candidates for today’s demanding careers will come from communities that may have been historically overlooked or excluded due to outdated hiring policies and old-fashioned credentialling,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, Vice President, IBM Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG. “That’s why we’re uniting the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors to cultivate STEM talent from underrepresented communities to address the world’s most critical challenges.”

“We want Veterans to have as many pathways to employment and career success as possible,” said Michael Frueh, VA’s Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Benefits. “This is an urgent need and goes beyond hiring. This partnership will offer our Veterans a unique opportunity to obtain skills and find job opportunities across companies and industries.”

“We strongly believe that hiring diverse talent increases companies’ success,” said Steen Lohse, CEO and Managing Director of Specialisterne Foundation. “Neurodivergent people across the world will have access to free, online courses from IBM SkillsBuild on disruptive technologies such as AI, cybersecurity, and cloud computing, enabling meaningful employment for neurodivergent learners.” 

“NC A&T State University being chosen as one of the first six HBCU Cybersecurity Leadership Centers is a great privilege that will provide our students with access to top-notch education, technology, and industry professionals and will ensure the future cybersecurity workforce will be diverse, experienced, and capable of protecting this country,” said Hossein Sarrafzadeh, PhD, Director of the Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity Research, Education and Outreach. “IBM recognizes the untapped talent at HBCUs and with this investment they are building a cybersecurity education infrastructure that will propel underrepresented communities to the forefront of security leadership.”

“As we know, technology-related services are in constant demand, and cybersecurity is paramount,” said Dr. Ray L. Belton, President of the Southern University System. “Consistent growth in all areas of industry requires a well-prepared workforce. We are proud to partner in this initiative that will offer in-demand programming and opportunities to our students, adding to a diverse, global marketplace.”

“Through South Carolina State University’s collaboration with IBM, students, staff, and faculty have access to modern technology, resources, and skills development,” said Dr. Nikunja Swain, Chair and professor, Computer Science and Mathematics Department; Executive Director, Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity. “We are glad to be part of this new IBM HBCU Cybersecurity Leadership initiative, which will further enhance our ongoing activities on several key areas, including cybersecurity, data science analytics, cloud computing, IOT, blockchain, design thinking, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence.”

“Xavier is excited to partner with IBM to expand the opportunities offered to our talented students,” said Dr. Anne McCall, provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs at Xavier University of Louisiana. “At Xavier, we are responsible for cultivating the talents of the next generation, and cybersecurity is an industry of the future. This partnership will help our nation meet the growing need for skilled professionals in the cyberspace workforce.” 

“The Morgan State University CAP Center is excited about this partnership opportunity as we work together with IBM to address the high workforce demand in the cybersecurity industry,” said Dr. Kevin T. Kornegay, Professor and IoT Security Endowed Chair, Morgan State University.

“Clark Atlanta University welcomes the partnership and the expanded collaboration with IBM to build a more diverse and innovative U.S. cyber workforce. This amazing opportunity prepares our students for the future in developing cutting edge technology to solve complex cybersecurity challenges and better protect organizations in a challenging and uncertain global security environment,” said Silvanus Udoka, Ph.D., Dean, Clark Atlanta University School of Business Administration.  

In 2020, Manpower Group found that the talent shortage in the U.S. has more than tripled over 10 years, with 69% of employers surveyed struggling to fill skilled positions, up from just 14% in 2010. By September 2021, there were more than 1.2 million U.S. job vacancies postings in software-related professions, according to the National Foundation for American Policy.

— Source, video, and cover photoIBM


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Meta’s Huntsville Data Center announces 2022 Community Action Grants

Huntsville, AL—Meta is thrilled to announce recipients of their 2022 Community Action Grants. Congratulations BDPA Huntsville!

Through their Data Center Community Action Grants program, Meta provides funding for nonprofits and schools to support the long-term vitality of Huntsville. They fund projects that help put the power of technology to use for community benefit, connect people online or off and improve STEM education. Congratulations to the 2022 Huntsville Data Center grant recipients and a big thank you for your impactful work!

BDPA Huntsville FLIGHTS program

2022 Huntsville Data Center Grant Award Recipients

National BDPA Huntsville Chapter / $18,750
To empower the FLIGHTS program to give students real-world career experiences

Drake State Community & Technical College / $15,247
To develop STEM learning opportunities with solar robotics kits and an Arduino Rev3 programmable robot

Huntsville City Schools / $10,000
To support the development of a community STEM garden that connects the community together

100 Black Men of Greater Huntsville, Inc. / $5,000
To help put on STEAM events and programs to inspire young people from diverse communities in Huntsville

Girls Inc. of Huntsville / $15,000
To support Operation Smart program for increasing leadership and improving graduation rates by providing programs for young girls

The Livin’ Room / $17,870
To provide new computers and projectors for trainings at the community center

Northwood Community Outreach / $50,000
To equip community coding classes with technology to improve connection for students and residents

Madison City Schools / $27,000
To provide tablets and enable equitable internet access for students in need

Village of Promise / $42,243
To equip adults with technology for pursuing GEDs, training for jobs and finding employment

Discovery Middle School / $1,000
To support the Greenpower Racing Program for inspiring hands-on problem solvers

CAP & GOWN Project / $15,000
To enable transformative opportunities to pursue college for underserved secondary school students

Data centers are part of the infrastructure that helps us bring WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and more to people around the globe. They support Meta’s mission to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.

Sources: Meta Platforms, Inc. and BDPA Huntsville


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Earth Day Tech Summit 2022 is a virtual event for students, JROTC Units, and young adults.

TEDCO’s New Women Leadership Programs Empowering Maryland’s Entrepreneurs

COLUMBIA, MD—TEDCO, Maryland’s economic engine for technology companies, announced today the launch of its new Women Entrepreneur Leadership Programs. The new programs are designed to build an alliance of diverse founders and CEOs to strategically navigate Maryland’s entrepreneurial innovation ecosystem. In collaboration with Maryland’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), TEDCO’s new programs will focus on creating a diversified community of women entrepreneurs and help them grow their companies.

“Using the input from TEDCO’s Task Force for Women Entrepreneurs to develop the course foundation, we were able to create a one-of-a-kind program focusing on mitigating challenges Black women entrepreneurs face,” Linda Singh, executive director for TEDCO’s Women Entrepreneur Leadership.

The leadership program kicks off with a pilot program in Howard County at the Maryland Innovation Center (MIC). The Open Institute for Black Women Entrepreneur Excellence will convene a cohort of 25 women entrepreneurs, with the goal of developing a network of peer advisors and creating a collaborative community. The HBCUs will determine the needs of these entrepreneurs at the intersection of research, tech transfer and education. Maryland’s HBCUs include Bowie State UniversityCoppin State UniversityMorgan State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore

“Recent numbers show the continued challenges faced by early-stage women entrepreneurs –2.3% of venture funding went to women in 2020, down from an all time high of 2.8% in 2019, yet 42% of all business are women owned,” said Troy LeMaile-Stovall, TEDCO CEO. “TEDCO recognizes the need to ensure all Marylanders, especially women, given that the state has the highest rate per capita of women-owned businesses, are provided the proper opportunities and exposure to realize their dreams. This pilot with our friends in Howard County represents our commitment to ensure our dreams become reality and access to wealth inclusion and expansion opportunities are realized.”

To be eligible for the cohort, applicants must be a founder, co-founder, or CEO whose company is at a minimum of pre-seed to growth stage and a maximum of pre-series A. Watch the webinar to find out more about the program by visiting https://youtu.be/LmUSLXU8Egc.

The new program builds on past work by TEDCO as it works to support women and underrepresented entrepreneurs. 

In 2016, TEDCO commissioned a study into the demographics of those start-ups applying for funding and support from TEDCO to try to identify underserved entrepreneurs. As a result of that study, TEDCO launched the Minority Business Pre-Seed Fund, which eventually became the Builder Fund for start-ups run by entrepreneurs who demonstrate economic disadvantage. 

In 2019, TEDCO went further by convening its Task Force for Women Entrepreneurs. The 12 thought leaders in the Maryland entrepreneurial ecosystem were tasked with identifying and implementing concrete actions to drive outcomes for women entrepreneurs in the state. The task force came to a close with the recommendation of implementing these programs into the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Learn more about the Women Entrepreneur Leadership Programs and view the request for applications by visiting the website at https://www.tedcomd.com/women-programs.

Source and photos: TEDCO


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TEDCO

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is Permanently Authorized in new Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

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


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TEDCO
TEDCO Leading Innovation to Market.
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