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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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.

DISA Business Match Announced

FORT MEADE, MD—The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), in partnership with the Fort Meade Alliance, presents DISA Business Match, a full-day matchmaking event to connect small businesses with industry primes and DISA officials. The in-person event will take place on Monday, April 25 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the BWI Airport Marriott (1743 W Nursery Rd, Linthicum Heights, MD 21090).

Sign-ups and matching selections/priorities will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Sign up early for your first picks!  As an added bonus, when you are in between appointments, meet with DISA’s Chief of Staff, Senior Enlisted Advisor, the SETI Program Manager, or DISA’s Office of Small Business Personnel!  DISA’s updated forecast will be hot off the presses for the event!

You will have the opportunity to share your company’s capabilities with multiple potential partners in this speed-dating format. Registration details for in-person matchmaking with DISA Program Managers and DISA’s Prime Contractors are linked below.

Select here to pre-register before Friday, April 8, 2022.

— Sources: DISA and SAM.gov

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Host Chapter(s):
BDPA Baltimore, BDPA-DC, and BDPA NoVA

For additional information or business intelligence research regarding contract opportunity pipelines, BDPA and H.O.P.E. Project Members or Alumni, business owners, HBCU/MI executives, or JROTC instructors may email us at: info@bdpadc.org for related cybersecurity, quantum technology, or STEM information, assistance, or BDPA mission-partner questions.


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TEDCO

New Defense Secretary Arrives at Pentagon, Convenes COVID Meeting

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PENTAGON—Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III arrived at the Pentagon today and hit the ground running, greeting the senior staff and then immediately heading into meetings on combating the coronavirus. The Senate confirmed Austin at 11 a.m.; the vote was 93-2. He arrived at the Pentagon around noon and was “administratively sworn in” soon afterward.

Austin chaired a COVID-19 briefing attended by Deputy Secretary David L. Norquist, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, members of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Staff, DOD COVID-19 Coordinator Max Rose, the acting service secretaries, the service military chiefs and combatant commanders. The Senate and the House of Representatives waived the requirement that a defense secretary must have been retired seven years before assuming the position. Austin assured congressional leaders that he fully believes in civilian control of the U.S. military.

During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Austin addressed this issue. “I was a general and a soldier, and I’m proud of that,” he said. “But today, I appear before you as a citizen, the son of a postal worker and a homemaker from Thomasville, Georgia, and I’m proud of that, too. If you confirm me, I am prepared to serve now as a civilian, fully acknowledging the importance of this distinction.” Austin, a 1975 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., retired from the Army as the commander of U.S. Central Command in 2016.

In some of his first acts, Austin is contacting allies and partners around the world to assure them of America’s security commitments. His first call to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, is proof of the importance Austin places on allies.

Conquering COVID tops the immediate list of missions, but Austin also must configure the department to face China, which he called America’s “pacing threat” in his testimony. He also must consider the actions and strategy of a resurgent Russia. Iran remains a U.S. concern in the Middle East, and U.S. troops are still deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. North Korea is a wild card in the Indo-Pacific.

Threats from violent extremism remain. Although the physical caliphate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has been eliminated, remnants of the group are still dangerous, DOD officials have said. Other groups, which share the toxic ideology, exist in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Austin also must keep his eyes on the future, continuing to build a department that has the capabilities needed to deter any foe and, if deterrence fails, to defeat that threat.

Source and photo: Pentagon

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BDPA Members and General Public may select here to pre-register today.

BDPA-DC Receives New Grant from Best Buy Foundation to Support Local Tablets-For-Teens Projects

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.

BDPA Huntsville’s 2020 SITES Finalists receive new Samsung Galaxy Tab A tablets from the Association’s Tablets For Teens initiative after their technical showcase competitions during National BDPA’s 45th Anniversary and virtual BDPA2020 Annual Conference. Photo © 2020 BDPA Huntsville, AL. BDPA Detroit’s 2020 SITES Finalists are featured on our cover photo.

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. 

Additional information for the national capital region is provided on the following two landing pages, bdpadc.org or tabletsforteens.org.

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Tablets For Teens • Earth Day Tech Summit 2021 • TabletsForTeens.org

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

STEM Conference honors Army CIO as 2020 Black Engineer of the Year

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WASHINGTON — Lieutenant General Bruce T. Crawford, U.S. Army, who was sworn in as the Army Chief Information Officer (CIO) on Aug. 1. 2017, was awarded the Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) for his outstanding efforts to mentor the next generation of American scientists, technologists, and engineers.

As the Army’s chief information officer and G-6, Lt. Gen. Crawford reports both to the secretary of the Army as CIO, and also to the chief of staff of the Army as G-6.

He sets the strategic direction of the Army network and supervises all command, control, communications, and computers (C4) and Information Technology (IT) functions. He also oversees the Army’s $12.2 billion IT programs, manages enterprise IT architecture, establishes and enforces IT policies, and directs the delivery of C4IT capabilities to support war-fighters and business users.

As the G-6, he advises the Chief of Staff of the Army on the network, communications, signal operations, information security, force structure, and equipping.

dunbar-jrotc_beya2020

JROTC photo at BEYA2020 courtesy Neal Daniels, Dunbar High School, Washington, D.C.

A native of Columbia, South Carolina, he was commissioned through South Carolina State University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program on May 28, 1986, after graduating as a Distinguished Military Graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. He also holds a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

ICYMI | bdpatoday 02.15.20During his 33 years of service, LTG Crawford served in leadership positions at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. In previous assignments, he served as commanding general, U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM), director of C4/Cyber and Chief Information Officer, U.S. European Command (EUCOM), commanding general, 5th Signal Command (Theater); and G-6, U.S. Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Each year, the annual BEYA Conference hosts award ceremonies for people who create innovation and inspiration, opening up opportunities for careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Black Engineer of the Year awards are made based upon peer-reviews of hundreds of nominations submitted by organizations and employers across the country.

— Sources, photos, and original articles: blackengineer.com and bdpatoday

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Select here for BDPA2020 engagements!

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