Partnership Between Opportunity Ecosystem and Peach State LSAMP Sponsored  Seven Students for HBCU@SXSW 2017, Aims to Sponsor More for 2018

Partnership Between Opportunity Ecosystem and Peach State LSAMP Sponsored Seven Students for HBCU@SXSW 2017, Aims to Sponsor More for 2018

Last year, the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP)

partnered with Opportunity Ecosystem to sponsor seven students for the second

installment of HBCU@SXSW 2017. Through HBCU@SXSW, more than 100 students

attended the interactive, media, and music festival to learn more about opportunities in

technology and network with some of the biggest names in tech and business today.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for [the students] to be exposed to tech companies,

businesses, and entrepreneurship,” says Dr. Angela Birkes-Grier, Director of the Peach

State LSAMP. Many were amazingly overwhelmed by the wonderful opportunities that

they were offered by being at the SXSW conference. They were very excited, and they

said that they hope that they can do this conference again next year. It was an amazing

experience and opportunity for them to learn more about technology and integrate it into

the media arena.”.

The partnership between Opportunity Ecosystem and Peach State LSAMP included

working with STEM-focused students (science, technology, engineering and math) in six

institutions within the coalition: University of Georgia, Ft. Valley State University,

Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University-Perimeter College, Kennesaw

State University-Kennesaw Campus, Kennesaw State University—Marietta Campus

(formally Southern Polytechnic State University) and Savannah State University.

With 45 programs nationwide, the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation aims

to diversity the STEM workforce by increasing the number of underrepresented students

who attend and graduate from high caliber training programs. Groups considered

historically underrepresented include African American, Hispanic American, American

Indians, Native Hawaiian, Native Pacific Islander, and Alaska Native.

LSAMP provides funding to schools to develop strategies for retaining high-performing

students to keep them on the paths to graduate school and doctoral programs so that

they ultimately pursue careers in STEM.

Strategies that colleges and universities develop with funds are geared toward

recruitment and retention. Schools assist students in numerous ways. They encourage

students and provide ample research opportunities, assist with financial support, and

provide mentoring, summer bridge programs, and academic enrichment.

The Opportunity Ecosystem and Peach State LSAMP partnership give students a new

reference point for what can be achieved in their lives.

Startups, wealth generation, investing, technology, and endless skies are some of the

life-changing ideas and perspectives that the seven Peach State LSAMP students were

exposed to at HBCU@SXSW 2017.

And HBCU@SXSW 2018 is even more ambitious in working with more LSAMP

students to nurture even more young minds and change lives.

HBCU@SXSW 2018 will be accepting applications in June. Apply!






New Diversity Initiative, the YesWeCode Fund, Launches at HBCU@SXSW 2017

New Diversity Initiative, the YesWeCode Fund, Launches at HBCU@SXSW 2017

On the second day of HBCU@SXSW 2017, March 12th, the YesWeCode initiative launched before student leaders and investors. The event launch was fitting in that it also aimed to promote diversity in tech, but this time, not just with race but with economic diversity as well.

Ultimately, the YesWeCode initiative is a way to lift people out of poverty and build generational wealth, one middle class person and family at a time. Access to education, and in this case access specifically to an education in coding will be the catalyst for change.

The program is a collaboration between Code Fellows, The Iron Yard, Operation HOPE, Opportunity Ecosystem, TechSquare Labs, Climb Credit, We Can Code IT, and #YesWeCode and brings together the collective goals of coding schools, civic and governmental organizations and employers to encourage applicants to say no to financial barriers and YES to social mobility.

Tech is a sector with a track record for employing a primarily white and Asian male workforce. So with a focus on women and minorities, this program is a real game changer. It will also add racial and gender diversity to a workforce sorely lacking in it.

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers. Over the course of the next five years, the Fund has the goal of awarding $100 million in scholarships to minority and women students, with $40 million as full-tuition awards. Code Fellow and We Can Code IT have included scholarships for their bootcamp courses.

The program has an unexpected origin. The YesWeCode program was started by Van Jones in collaboration with Prince, only one name necessary. Prince, with a penchant for being before his time, wanted to develop technologists of color to create a future where women and minorities were woven into the tapestry of tech.

Prince partied like it was 1999 in the 1980s and in 2014, along with Van Jones, foresaw the importance of nurturing the underserved tech talent of tomorrow. He wanted to help change something as both simple and complex as what it means for a black youth versus a white youth to wear a hoodie.

The goal of #YesWeCode is to “help 100,000 young women and men from underrepresented backgrounds to find success in the tech sector,” according to the program’s website. The talent will be homegrown to help to add to the local economies.

Learn more about #YesWeCode and the YesWeCode Fund here.