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
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
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.”
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
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.
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.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: IBM 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.
PHILADELPHIA — Robots take the field for their initial rounds of competition during RoboJawn ‘22. FIRST Tech Challenge RoboJawn is similar to an official tournament in many ways.
Teams bring their robots and their Gracious Professionalism to compete in this year’s FREIGHT FRENZY challenge following FIRST‘s challenge rules.
Similar to an official tournament, teams are interviewed by a panel of judges, and submit an engineering portfolio, to vie for judged awards.
Central High School in Philadelphia, PA hosted this year’s RoboJawn. For this year’s off-season competitions, bdpatoday co-sponsored Central High School’s and Philadelphia High School for Girls’ RoboJawn teams.
LAUREL, MD—BDPA Members, alumni, and regional students visit Capitol Technology University’s cyber labs during workshops, presentations, and Capture The Flag (CTF) activities during this weekend’s annual Cyber Saturday events.
Capitol Technology University is Washington D.C.’s premier STEM University–supplying human capital to America’s most technologically advanced government agencies and their private sector supply chains. In 2020, Capitol Tech was awarded a two-year grant from the National Security Agency (NSA) to lead the National Center of Academic Excellence (CAE) Northeast Regional Hub, which includes 14 states, the District of Columbia, and hundreds of institutions offering cybersecurity programs. BDPA’s relationships with Capitol Tech, staff, and alumni, span two decades.
Dr. Kellep Charles serves as an assistant professor and chairs the Capitol Technology University’s Cybersecurity department. He completed his Doctorate in Cybersecurity at Capitol Technology University. He also holds a Master of Science in Telecommunication Management from the University of Maryland University College and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Dr. Charles worked as a government contractor in the Washington, DC area as an information security analyst for over 20 years in the areas of incident response, computer forensics, security assessments, malware analysis, and security operations. He is the creator and executive editor of SecurityOrb.com, an information security and privacy knowledge-based website with the mission to share and raise awareness of the motives, tools, and tactics of the black-hat community, and provide best practices and countermeasures against malicious events.
NASHVILLE, TN—Tennessee’s General Assembly reconvened January 11, 2022 and on April 14, 2022 the Tennessee Senate unanimously passedSenate 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.
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.
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
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).
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!
2022 Huntsville Data CenterGrant 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
• Villageof 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.
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
__________________________ 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: firstname.lastname@example.org for related cybersecurity, quantum technology, or STEM information, assistance, or BDPA mission-partner questions.
WASHINGTON (White House) — “The passage of the bipartisan appropriations bill that is now headed to the President’s desk gives fresh momentum to the urgent science and technology priorities of the Biden-Harris Administration,” said Dr. Alondra Nelson, who is performing the duties of Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). “From the creation of Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H), a new agency to kindle bold research and innovation on cancer and other deadly diseases, to new funding for science at National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that advances actionable information on climate change, this spending bill charts a hopeful course to the future.”
“As our nation emerges from a pandemic that illustrated the life-saving importance of investment in biomedical and public health innovation, we are grateful to see a strong commitment to build on that success,” said OSTP Deputy Director for Health and Life Sciences Dr. Carrie Wolinetz. “Not only does the omnibus include $1 billion in funding and related authorities to stand up President Biden’s proposed ARPA-H, but it provides significant investments in public health infrastructure and workforce, readying us to meet the social and scientific challenges of emerging variants and future biological threats. In addition, as we move forward with our Community Connected Health initiative, which marries telemedicine technology with community-based health delivery, we are delighted to see the critical extension of telehealth flexibilities included in the bill.”
“We are grateful to Congress for providing increases for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological Survey, the US Department of Agriculture, and other science and technology agencies,” said OSTP Principal Deputy Director for Policy Kei Koizumi. “It is especially heartening to see NSF receive resources to establish a new directorate to support research for breakthrough technologies, for solutions to our challenges, for strengthening our global economic competitiveness, and to support a diverse and equitable STEM ecosystem across all of America.”
“With increases to the budgets of NOAA, NASA, and NSF, this omnibus will strengthen our efforts to confront the climate crisis with strong funding for climate research and mitigation,” said OSTP Deputy Director for Climate and Environment Dr. Jane Lubchenco. “The science that this bill will support will strengthen our resilience and better enable us to preserve the natural world so heavily impacted by the climate crisis.”
“Increases in funding for the Department of Energy’s game-changing research in clean energy technologies will increase the technology options for meeting our climate goals and increase our energy security” said OSTP Deputy Director for Energy Dr. Sally Benson. “The bill also marks a turning point, accelerating the development of fusion power by providing funding for the Milestone-Based Development Program that supports public-private partnerships to develop practical approaches for making electricity from fusion, the same process that powers the Sun.”
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Virtual Earth Day Tech Summit 2022 April 22-23, 2022
By Norman Mays, Kenneth Wilson, and Sharrarne Morton, BDPA
National BDPA photo by Charlie Perkins
LARGO, MD (BDPA) – Earl A. Pace, Jr., a computer programmer trainee at the Pennsylvania Railroad who went on to become an entrepreneur, an iconic figure of civil rights in the tech industry, and a staunch proponent of technology inclusion initiatives, died February 19, 2022, after enduring a long illness his family said in a statement. He was 79.
“All of us will miss his caring, his love and his sound wisdom as co-founder of Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA). The date and details of a memorial service will be announced in the near future. Please keep us in your hearts and prayers.”
A distinguished alum of The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), Mr. Pace has been in the Information Technology (IT) industry since 1965. He left the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1967. Over the next decade he rose through the ranks of programmer, programmer analyst, programming manager, and on to Vice President of a financial telecommunications company in Philadelphia, PA. He became a business owner in 1976 when he incorporated Pace Data Systems, a full service information technology firm providing services and support through its Philadelphia, PA and Washington, D.C. offices primarily to banks and savings banks.
In 1975, Mr. Pace co-founded BDPA in Philadelphia and operated as its president for two years. In 1978 he coordinated the formation of BDPA into a national organization and functioned as its first National President until 1980. National BDPA has grown into one of the largest professional organizations representing minorities across the IT industry. In 1992, the BDPA Education and Technology Foundation (BETF or BDPA Foundation) chaired by Mr. Pace, was founded to support the education and technical programs of BDPA. In 2011, Mr. Pace was the first IT Innovator honored during CompTIA’s IT Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Within BDPA and on a broader industrial scale, Mr. Pace was a vocal advocate for business ownership. His primary message since starting BDPA has always been minorities should strive to rise above just ‘getting a job’ while pursuing ownership, operating their own businesses, and landing a position on a Corporate Board of Directors.
BDPA, formerly known as Black Data Processing Associates, is an international organization with a diverse membership of professionals and students at all levels in the fields of information technology, computer science, data science, and related science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Founded in Philadelphia, PA in 1975, BDPA Members and BDPA Student Members remain actively engaged in serving their respective communities through technology inclusion programs and STEM outreach events while charting the futures of IT and digital inclusivity with Industry.
This book was written to enrich lives. It is a story about helping people grow, build, and achieve greatness. The story of the Black Data Processing Associates (BDPA) – a non-profit organization of African-American computer professionals growing, building, and achieving success together – is one of developing diverse talent and improving their career options in the Information Technology industry. BDPA was born in 1975 because its founders believed African Americans in particular were marginalized in the burgeoning field of data processing, known today as information technology (IT), STEM, and cyber.