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
Second annual virtual event expected to draw even more attendees
DAYTON, OH—The Air Force will host its second annual Air ForceHistorically Black Colleges & Universities/Minority Serving Institutions (AF HBCU/MSI) Outreach Initiative Collider August 12-13, 2021. The collider will feature speakers from the Air Force, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Small Business Administration (SBA), Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Minority Owned Businesses as well as partners in academic, business, industry, and government focused on sharing resource and engagement tips and trends to support collaborations in research and development of technological solutions for our warfighters. Researchers and Entrepreneurs are invited to attend this free event.
The Air Force Historically Black Colleges & Universities/Minority Serving Institutions (AF HBCU/MSI) Outreach Initiative is reaching out to HBCU/MSIs with an opportunity for funding research and development through strategic partnerships with small businesses and research institutions. The initiative is driven by three main objectives:
Address barriers that exist in the traditional Air Force acquisition process;
Expand the use of Open Topic solicitations, eliminating lengthy and cumbersome proposal processes; and
Reach thinkers who others would not have considered doing business with the U.S. government.
One year in and AF HBCU/MSI’s initiative is tracking success to Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) proposal submissions and awards.
Anissa Lumpkin, Program Manager, Air Force Research Laboratory, Small Business –and an HBCU graduate herself — says the need to reach out to these organizations was very apparent to her. “HBCUs have the capabilities of getting tech-based government contracts, but — for one reason or another – haven’t capitalized on Air Force opportunities. This outreach program stepped up to bridge that gap and make it happen.”
The first Air Force HBCU/MSI Outreach Initiative Collider, pivoted to be held virtually in August of 2020, sent the program’s message out loud and clear across the internet, with the event’s social media posts seeing nearly 24,000 audience impressions through socialized marketing.
“Possibly more than any other year, 2020 not only showed us the increased necessity for innovative technology,” Lumpkin begins, “but also the urgent need for inclusion of ideas from areas that have traditionally been underserved. STEM students from all walks need to know that, if they have an idea and the willingness to work hard on it, the Air Force wants to help them make it a reality.”
The AF HBCU/MSI Outreach Initiative Collider is held in connection the Black Data Processing Associates National Conference 2021. Additional Collider details and free registration on is available at https://2021.bdpa.org/hbcu-collider/.
Contact: Ms. Anissa Lumpkin, Senior Program Manager, Air Force Research Laboratory, Small Business Office Event Coordinator: Ms. Angela Morris, Lead Strategic Communications Specialist, Air Force Research Laboratory, Small Business Office Email: AFRL.HBCU.MSI@US.AF.MIL
CLEVES, OH—Blacks In Technology (BIT) will be hosting BITCON 2021, a virtual conference, from October 13-15. BITCON will feature a variety of technology disciplines from cryptocurrency to cybersecurity, targeting IT practitioners, technology leaders, startup founders, and anyone interested in pursuing and advancing a career in tech.
Blacks In Technology recognizes that there is a significant gap between people of African descent and the rest of the tech industry. Approximately 3% of workers at the top 75 technology companies identify as Black and Black founders received approximately 3% of all US venture capital in 2020. BITCON will provide practical tools, resources, innovative workshops, and inspiring discussions to help attendees “stomp the divide”, both individually and collectively. Additionally, BITCON will hosts hackathons, a startup pitch competition with a $10,000 cash prize, a diversity career fair, and provide over $15,000 in giveaways for hundreds of attendees.
The Blacks In Technology Foundation is sponsored by dozens of supporting technology organizations and companies such as Google, Disney, Square, and Palo Alto Networks. BITCON will reflect current technology trends and provide members of the Black community with catalysts to propel their career. The star-studded speaker lineup includes ABC’s Emmy Award winning TV show Shark Tank’s, Daymond John; investor, founder, and managing partner of Backstage Capital, Arlan Hamilton; world-renowned crisis management expert and inspiration for the hit TV show Scandal, Judy Smith; executive advisor and motivational speaker, Dr. Simon T. Bailey, and over 50 of the most influential Black thought leaders in tech. This continues BIT’s tradition of notable participants of past conferences, from the late rapper and entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle to presidential candidate and US Senator Amy Klobuchar.
“What’s always excited me most about BITCON is that we pride ourselves on being a true tech conference,” says Founder of Blacks In Technology, Greg Greenlee. “We are not a diversity conference so don’t attend this event expecting us to preach to the choir on issues we face as a marginalized group in this industry.”
The Blacks In Technology Foundation is proud to be one of a handful of organizations encouraging raised awareness of the importance of increased Black representation in tech. BIT provides resources that remove barriers to entry for those looking to enter technology. In 2021 the Blacks In Technology Foundation will provide over $1M in scholarships and grants for technical certifications and trainings resources to members representing 48 chapters led 100% by volunteers.
If you would like more information about Blacks In Technology, the Blacks In Technology Foundation, and BITCON, visit www.bitcon2021.com.
—Source, logo, and photos: Blacks in Technology Foundation
MILWAUKEE, WI—BDPA would like to welcome Northwestern Mutual as a Gold Sponsor! This partnership is an opportunity to work with Northwestern Mutual to discover new insights and to create new opportunities through networking and potential employment. During the 43rd Annual Conference, this partnership will be highlighted in several ways.
BDPA’s Data Science Academy (DSA) and Northwestern Mutual are partnering to provide experiences for educational and career growth through research and lab-based programs for students and professionals.
Message from Northwestern Mutual
Our BDPA partnership extends beyond the sponsorship and funding.
It provides opportunities to build relationships with diverse talent, especially students, opening the door for future tech talent to participate in our world class tech internships program and the possibility of a tech career at Northwestern Mutual and beyond.
At the same time, we can support our communities and grow local tech talent through working with the BDPA Milwaukee chapter.
“We’re excited to work with a new group of data and analytics professionals to deliver impactful learning experiences that attract, develop, and retain the best talent in the industry.”
KERI MCCONNELL, SENIOR DIRECTOR DATA SCIENCE & ANALYTICS, NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL, & CO-DIRECTOR, NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL DATA SCIENCE INSTITUTE
By Master Sgt. Chance Babin, Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) — Air Force Chief of Staff General CQ Brown, Jr. delivers a powerful message about air power and diversity in a new Air Force commercial titled “Helmet.”
The dynamic 30-second spot aired for the first time on national TV during the NBA Finals pregame.
“I was a captain when I was asked to do an interview about diversity, and I shared this idea,” Brown said. “I want our adversaries to know that, no matter our respective backgrounds, our Airmen are unstoppable.”
For Air Force Recruiting Service’s top recruiter, the commercial is a slam dunk.
“The message is clear,” said Maj. Gen. Edward Thomas, AFRS commander. “As Airmen, we’re committed to ensuring we have the most capable and lethal air power in the world, and we want America’s best – the best from all of America – to come join us.”
Thomas emphasized that the Air Force is a warfighting organization, and the nation expects nothing less than the highest standards and a selection process that brings in the best Americans to become Airmen.
“When Gen. Brown became the CSAF, he clearly stated that the Air Force was going to focus on what we do best – air power,” said Barry Dickey, AFRS director of strategic marketing. “We wanted to make a commercial that reinforced that priority, but also inspired Americans from all walks of life to serve in the Air Force.
“The power of this spot is in the underlying message and delivery. When I watch the commercial, I’m left with the understanding that the Air Force doesn’t care what you look like or where you come from,” Dickey said. “If you can do the job, we’ve got an opportunity for you. At the same time, I also get the message that the Air Force is about winning with air power, period. All of this is delivered by the leader of the Air Force in 30 seconds.”
AFRS and its advertising agency, GSD&M, originally planned to film two commercials with Brown at Edwards Air Force Base, California, with a focus on both diversity and air power.
The “Helmet” commercial was not in the original plans, but materialized as the day’s shooting progressed.
“While we were recording the voice-over for the commercials, Gen. Brown told a few stories and basically said what you hear in the commercial,” Dickey said. “When he did, I think everyone in the room immediately had the same thought – ‘we’ve got to record that!’ The creatives from GSD&M quickly turned his words into a script while we were filming and General Brown graciously agreed to perform on-camera.”
The commercial also fits squarely into AFRS Detachment 1’s efforts to reach into traditionally underserved communities to let people know about the opportunities to fly in the Air Force through programs designed to meet CSAF’s Rated Diversity Improvement initiative goals. For example, the Aim High Flight Academy gives disadvantaged youth a chance to learn to fly while being mentored by Air Force officers.
“We have a very healthy level of diversity in our enlisted ranks, but our officer and flying specialties look less like America,” Thomas said. “Air Force recruiting efforts have ramped up to better attract a cross-section of highly-qualified Americans into our ranks and specifically to consider flying opportunities.”
— Source and photos: United States Air Force (USAF)
AUSTIN, TX — For more than 100 years, teaching has run through Hillary-Rhys Richard’s family. Growing up in Katy, Texas, Rhys, as he’s known to his friends, listened to his mother, Astrya Richard, tell stories of her ancestors — four generations of educators who saw teaching as a calling, and learning as a tool for change.
By the end of high school, Rhys had never had a Black male teacher, and that absence, along with his family’s deep connection to education, helped steer him to follow in their footsteps.
This week, Rhys, 18, will complete his freshman year remotely as part of the inaugural class of the African American Male Teacher Initiative at Huston-Tillotson University. The first-of-its-kind program was created in partnership with Apple as part of the company’s ongoing and deep commitment to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Apple’s multiyear partnership with Huston-Tillotson complements other engagements the company has established through its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, working alongside the HBCU community to develop curricula and provide new learning and workforce opportunities.
At Huston-Tillotson, Apple is providing scholarships for the program’s students, called Pre-Ed Scholars, as well as hardware, software, and professional-development courses for students and faculty.
“Every student should have the chance to be taught by someone who represents them,” Rhys wrote in his application essay to Huston-Tillotson. “In order to build strong children, we need strong male teachers to forge a path through being the example for students. The baton has to be passed for us to continue pushing forward. I stand ready to run my leg of the race.
Currently, only 2 percent of all US teachers are Black men, something the program at Huston-Tillotson seeks to change. When Black students are taught by a Black teacher, they are significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college.
Huston-Tillotson President Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette has witnessed the power of that relationship firsthand. Her son had a Black male teacher in the fifth grade, and it transformed his education.
“It just really did something magical for him,” says Dr. Burnette. “So this is personal for me because of my own experience raising an African American male. It’s my mission to be able to get these young Black men in classrooms, so they can pour into other vessels like themselves because they have shared experiences. And there’s nothing like being taught by someone who has a shared experience.
”It’s the reason Dr. Burnette prioritized the creation of the African American Male Teacher Initiative, and sought out a partner in Apple.
I want to be the teacher I never had, the teacher every student deserves. And it all begins here.
Rhys Richard, student at Huston-Tillotson University
“There’s an African proverb: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,’” says Dr. Burnette. “So to have a partner like Apple that is best in class for innovation and its commitment to excellence — it’s a natural match. We’re investing in a mission with education as the great equalizer and giving people opportunities to be the best they can be.”
When Rhys graduates from the program, he’s going to teach music. He currently plays four instruments, including the tuba, which is his favorite. His freshman music classes are taught by Dr. Samuel Rowley, who is Rhys’s first Black male teacher. “He’s very positive,” says Rhys. “And he’s a perfectionist with his work, which is sort of like me. So I see myself in him.”
Dr. Rowley’s life was also changed by his first Black male teacher, his high school band director. “He left a tremendous impact,” says Dr. Rowley.
“We all wanted to be music teachers just like him.” Dr. Rowley uses Clips and Garage Band on iPad in his music classes, which are all taught remotely because of the pandemic.
“If it would not have been for Apple products, I would not have been able to connect with my students all around the country,” says Dr. Rowley, who is a recognized Apple Teacher after completing professional learning courses offered through the free online Apple Teacher Learning Center. He’s guiding Rhys and his fellow Pre-Ed Scholars through the courses as well, so they will also be recognized Apple Teachers when they graduate.
“I’m really excited about learning more about Apple technology with the Apple Teacher program,” says Rhys. “Especially now that I’ve been introduced to GarageBand, I want to learn more about how I can incorporate it into my classes when I’m a teacher.” That passion for sharing knowledge is something that Rhys’s mother has seen for many years.
“The way he loves music, it will make anyone love music,” says Astrya, an assistant principal who taught for many years. “And I just picture him having that type of impact on kids. I think he’s going to be an outstanding educator.” Rhys’s application essay to Huston-Tillotson closed with a commitment to the generations of students he will undoubtedly go on to inspire.“
I look forward to creating a place of open learning where ideas are exchanged and experiences are shared,” wrote Rhys. “I want to be the teacher I never had, the teacher every student deserves. And it all begins here.”
ARMONK, NY—When IBM launched the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center last September, our goal was to collaborate with historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in a way that would advance not only quantum information science, but also STEM-based opportunities for these traditionally underrepresented communities. We are proud to report that this initiative in the quantum computing field is off to a fast start, as HBCUs, students, and faculty begin to explore the Center’s vast potential.
Membership has nearly doubled in less than six months to a total of 23 HBCUs. We have created a community of students and faculty, including the start of an undergraduate research program where students are exploring quantum computation with Qiskit, and have contributed to a pre-print on arXiv that investigates the use of machine learning and quantum computing to better understand unknown quantum systems.
Expanding the IBM-HBCU Quantum Center
Today, we’ve announced a slate of new members for the Center, with 10 historically Black colleges and universities joining the Center’s 13 founding institutions. The new schools (in alphabetical order) are:
In addition to this rapid growth, we are honored to have distinguished faculty as members of the Center, including Howard University associate professor of physics Thomas Searles, winner of the inaugural Joseph A. Johnson III Award for Excellence; Serena Eley, an assistant professor of physics at the Colorado School of Mines and head of the Eley Quantum Materials Group; and Anderson Sunda-Meya, an associate professor of physics at Xavier University of Louisiana and recipient of the 2021 American Physical Society Excellence in Physics Education Award.
Professors Eley and Searles have also received grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the organization’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program. The program supports early-career faculty who have the potential to become academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in their department or organization.
Inclusion from the start
The Center is a multi-year investment designed to prepare and develop talent at HBCUs from all STEM disciplines. IBM’s goals are to build a sustainable quantum research and education program by increasing the number of Black students educated in Quantum Information Science and Engineering (QISE), strengthening research efforts of faculty at HBCUs in QISE, and providing opportunities for scholarship, fellowships, and internships for HBCU undergraduate and graduate students.
The IBM-HBCU Quantum Center’s mission is to educate, foster collaboration on joint research, and ultimately createa more diverse quantum-ready workforce for students studying everything from physics and chemistry to computer science and business. The Center’s members collaborate across their respective institutions, and are building regional interactions to strengthen both faculty and student engagement.
Black and Latinx students leave STEM majors at nearly twice the rate of white students, due largely to the lack of a support structure and access to resources as they pursue their academic goals, according to EAB, a Washington-based education research company. We see the need for an inclusive, supportive space where these students and their professors are able to collaborate and explore emerging technologies. This collaboration with HBCUs, which educate 27 percent of African American graduates with STEM degrees, will increase opportunities for faculty and students to identify and launch successful careers in the budding field of quantum computing.
Since IBM first put a quantum computer on the cloud almost five years ago, it has pushed the boundaries of both access and enablement for quantum computation at a global scale. One example is our Qiskit Global Summer School, which delivered an undergraduate-level course on quantum algorithms to a global audience of over 4,000 students in over 100 countries. Another example is our partnership with The Coding School expanding quantum education to high schools by educating thousands of students around the world for a full academic year.
We know that early touch points with new technology can help increase the likelihood of capturing interest in the subject and is critical for underrepresented communities. In return, we envision quantum computing benefitting greatly from a diverse community of researchers and industry professionals that can help advance the technology and identify commercial applications.
As the Center continues to develop, we are measuring success on a number of metrics, including student engagement, talent and workforce development, and research capacity. We hope to apply these best practices as we build the quantum workforce, especially at community colleges and undergraduate and minority-serving institutions, which all serve traditionally underrepresented communities in STEM.
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.
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.